STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Trump announces 'surge' of federal officers to Chicago as he campaigns on 'law and order' mantle

Speaking at the same event as Trump, Attorney General Bill Barr criticized what he called 'extreme reactions that have demonized police' in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Posted: Jul 22, 2020 3:51 PM
Updated: Jul 22, 2020 4:03 PM

By Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) -- President Donald Trump said Wednesday he will "surge" federal law enforcement officers to Chicago and other American cities, despite resistance from local leaders, as he adopts a hardline "law and order" mantle ahead of November's election.


(Photo courtesy Doug Brown / ACLU of Oregon)

(Photo courtesy Doug Brown / ACLU of Oregon)

In making the move, Trump is wading further into an effort to portray Democrats as weak on crime and unable to protect the citizens of places where they are in charge. He has ordered federal agents to tamp down on protests in Portland, Oregon, leading to chaotic tableaux and reports of unmarked vehicles snatching people off the streets. And he has warned he may order federal officers into other states and cities he deems insufficiently policed, even if governors and mayors in those places don't ask for help.


RELATED: Merkley and Wyden draft legislation to halt 'federal paramilitary occupation' in Portland


His attention in recent days has focused on Chicago, whose Democratic mayor said Tuesday she would not allow "Donald Trump's troops" into her city. Before he became president, Trump once railed against his predecessor for high crime rates in Chicago, but he now blames local officials for the scourge.

Using ominous rhetoric and dark language to describe cities run by Democrats as rife with crime and violence, Trump suggested Wednesday he had little option but to take steps those leaders haven't to save innocent lives.

"No mother should ever have to cradle her dead child in her arms simply because politicians refused to do what is necessary to secure their neighborhood and to secure their city," he said during a mid-afternoon event in the East Room.

Trump's campaign has increasingly turned to dark themes of violence and chaos as it seeks to falsely paint his Democratic rival Joe Biden as anti-police. Since protests spread throughout the country following the murder of George Floyd, Trump has worked to cultivate a tough-on-crime message that includes the federal law enforcement efforts now underway.

Speaking at the same event as Trump, Attorney General Bill Barr criticized what he called "extreme reactions that have demonized police" in the wake of Floyd's killing, which he blamed for "a significant increase in violent crime in many cities."

Trump was announcing the expansion of the Operation Legend initiative, a Justice Department program first established in Kansas City earlier this month that utilizes federal law enforcement officers from the FBI, US Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to combat violent crime.

Trump said he was dispatching additional federal law enforcement into other American cities, including Chicago, to tamp down on "heinous crimes of violence."

"We'll work every single day to restore public safety, protect our nation's children and bring violent perpetrators to justice," he said. "We've been doing it and you've been seeing what's happening all around the country."

"We've just started this process and frankly we have no choice but to get involved," Trump said.

Barr said there were about 200 federal agents dispatched as part of the program to Kansas City, and said a comparable number would head to Chicago to augment existing teams already there.

He said 35 agents would go to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and that other cities would be added later.

The program is named for 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, a Kansas City resident who was fatally shot while sleeping at home.

When it was announced, the Justice Department described the initiative as "a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative across all federal law enforcement agencies working in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight the sudden surge of violent crime."

The program doesn't require the explicit invitation from local leaders, and many have resisted having federal officers patrolling their streets.


RELATED: Acting DHS secretary visits Portland, delivers statement criticizing local leaders


Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, tweeted on Tuesday evening: "Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump's troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents."

Earlier in the day, she said she would "welcome actual partnership, but we do not welcome dictatorship."

And New Mexico Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich tweeted after being informed the operation was expanding to Albuquerque that federal law enforcement wasn't welcome.

"Given the mess it created in Portland, I let him know in no uncertain terms that this isn't the kind of 'help' that Albuquerque needs," he wrote on Twitter.

Heinrich was referring to a separate Trump administration effort, led by the Department of Homeland Security, to quell protests in Oregon that has drawn scrutiny for its tactics. Leaders there have said the federal law enforcement presence has exacerbated tensions with protesters, who are marching against systemic racism in policing.

The Trump administration has claimed it has authority to protect a federal courthouse in Portland in explaining its actions.

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump was "very discouraged by the violence that he's seen in Chicago" and claimed Lightfoot was "clearly unable to control her streets."

A day earlier, Trump himself suggested he would expand the deployment of federal law enforcement officers to other cities led by Democrats.

"We're not going to let this happen in our country," he said, naming New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore and Oakland, California. "All run by liberal Democrats."

Trump has turned increasingly to "law and order" themes as he works to portray Biden as weak on crime. His effort began in early June after the murder of Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

After mostly peaceful protests spread decrying Floyd's death and larger issues of systemic racism, Trump sought to tamp down on occasional flare-ups of violence and to claim his Democratic rival is weak on crime.

His attacks, however, have relied on false talking points, including that Biden supports defunding police.

In fact, Biden has said he supports increasing funds for community policing efforts.

But that hasn't stopped Trump's campaign from releasing fear-mongering ads that suggest 911 calls would go unanswered if Biden is elected president, including one this week that depicted an elderly woman being attacked in her home.

Facebook ads in a similar vein depicted protesters attacking police officers, casting the election choice as "public safety vs. chaos and violence."

Yet the photo of the attack was not from recent events in the United States; its caption on Wikicommons indicated it was taken in 2014 during pro-Democracy protests in Kiev, Ukraine.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 130246

Reported Deaths: 1737
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah27890446
Washington18245166
Marion15878233
Clackamas11445134
Lane8042107
Jackson675782
Umatilla653065
Deschutes480532
Malheur311351
Yamhill309644
Linn304842
Polk236638
Klamath235230
Jefferson166125
Josephine164230
Benton164013
Douglas162943
Union108916
Wasco103723
Columbia100418
Lincoln96817
Hood River93121
Coos92314
Morrow9149
Clatsop6574
Crook5819
Baker5495
Tillamook3572
Curry3164
Lake2275
Grant1821
Harney1673
Wallowa923
Gilliam471
Sherman470
Wheeler191
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2877830

Reported Deaths: 32159
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles97529913234
San Bernardino2415231560
Riverside2334802399
San Diego2041752005
Orange2027532195
Santa Clara883791028
Kern81490550
Fresno78278846
Sacramento782681044
Alameda63866776
Ventura56453388
San Joaquin54796736
Contra Costa49082395
Stanislaus40695720
Tulare39347482
Monterey34072248
San Mateo30196268
San Francisco27863237
Imperial24717460
Solano24291105
Merced22932287
Santa Barbara22769214
Sonoma22610227
Kings18164110
Placer16532172
San Luis Obispo14625119
Madera12570130
Santa Cruz11423111
Marin11126148
Yolo9933131
Shasta9450111
Butte9013120
Sutter737975
El Dorado732639
Napa702838
Lassen504813
Yuba471226
San Benito469841
Tehama391742
Tuolumne327036
Nevada303770
Mendocino300331
Amador291429
Lake232128
Humboldt222024
Glenn179219
Colusa16679
Calaveras149322
Siskiyou137312
Mono10384
Inyo88227
Del Norte8272
Plumas5695
Modoc3733
Mariposa3344
Trinity2994
Alpine730
Sierra670
Unassigned00
Medford
Mostly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 48°
Brookings
Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 50°
Medford
Mostly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 48°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 48°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 38°
Staying mild into the weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events