By Andrew O’Reilly-Fox News
President Trump, in a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity on Thursday, tore into the soaring violent-crime rates in cities including Chicago and Baltimore – comparing them to Afghanistan and Honduras, and saying, “it’s like living in hell.”
The president specifically called out Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit and Oakland as problematic. Trump blamed the mayors of those cities – all of them Democrats – along with former President Barack Obama and the party’s presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden – for the high rates of homicide and other violent crimes.
“Chicago is an example, it is worse than Afghanistan,” Trump told Hannity. “These cities, it’s like living in hell.”
Chicago in particular has become a target for Trump’s criticism, especially after the city reached a grim milestone late last month when it saw 18 murders in one day – making May 31 the city’s deadliest day in 60 years.
Despite that milestone – and the president’s criticism – the murder rate in Chicago has dropped over the past few years. The country’s third-largest city saw 490 murders in 2019 – a 13 percent drop from the 564 in 2018 and a 35 percent drop since the 756 in 2016 when Chicago reported its highest number of homicides in two decades.
Both Baltimore and Detroit – two much smaller cities than Chicago – have seen their murder rates rise in 2020, with Baltimore recording 159 murders to date and Detroit seeing a 30-percent increase in homicides as of June 18 with 129 killings.
While acknowledging that his stance was controversial, the president advocated for police departments in the country to use stop-and-frisk tactics in order to get weapons off the street. Trump praised the use of the tactic by the New York City police department in the 1990s under Rudy Giuliani, then the city’s mayor – and currently, Trump’s personal attorney.
“It’s very controversial to stay, stop and frisk,” Trump said. “You take guns away… Rudy Giuliani was a great mayor. He did it in New York.”
Trump’s comments on violent crime came as part of a wide-ranging town hall in Green Bay, Wis., as the president also dug into Democrats in Congress, Biden and former National Security Adviser John Bolton.
“He didn’t do a good job,” Trump said of Bolton. “He wasn’t smart. He wasn’t sharp.”
Trump added: “He’s the only man I think I ever met — I knew him for a year — I don’t think I ever saw him smile once. I said to him, ‘John, do you ever smile?’ And, it tells you something about somebody.’”
The president’s comments came just days after Bolton won a court battle allowing him to publish his memoir despite objections from the White House that it contained classified information.
Addressing the semi-autonomous zone set up in downtown Seattle, Trump vowed to take action if officials there didn’t close it up.
“If they don’t do something with Seattle, we’re going to do that — we’re going to go in there,” Trump said, “because what’s happening, they’re taking over American cities.”
He quickly forayed this comment into a critique on Biden, whose gaffe today on the campaign trail he mocked.
“It’s so crazy what’s happening,” Trump said. “Here’s a guy who doesn’t talk. Nobody hears him. Whenever he does talk – he can’t put two sentences together. I don’t want to be nice or un-nice. I mean, the man can’t speak.”
Biden on Thursday made a verbal gaffe during a campaign stop in Pennsylvania and said 120 million people had died from the novel coronavirus. While Biden appeared to catch himself quickly after his gaffe — the pool video of Biden’s comments cut off after he made the remark – Republicans and conservative pundits were quick to jump on the former vice president’s comment.
Trump also labeled House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., as “bad people” and went on to continue deriding former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“We have Schumer and Pelosi and people that are bad people that I honestly believe don’t love our country,” Trump said. “What they do to our country and what they’ve done with this scam.”
He added: “Now it came out that Mueller should have announced in the first week that we did nothing wrong. They had evidence in the first few days that there was no collusion with Russia. There was nothing to do with Russia. They knew that immediately.”