Reporter confronts Chicago mayor on 'all the harm you've caused'

Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago (Video screenshot)

Chicago Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot has overseen a spike in murders in a city with a reputation for violent crime, blaming the problem on guns.

Her approval rating is below 30%, according to a Chicago Sun Times poll, but she apparently intends to run for re-election, although she has not made an official announcement.

In a speech at the City Club of Chicago on Tuesday, she declared Chicago is “poised for the best economic recovery of any big city in the nation, bar none” and crime is “trending in the right direction” though “more needs to be done.”

Afterward, taking questions from reporters, local investigative reporter and radio host William J. Kelly confronted the mayor on her rosy view of the state of the Windy City.

“Across the street, we had a police officer on duty the victim of a hit and run. We have Michigan Avenue, the Magnificent Mile, now referred to as the Mile of Fear. The Water Tower Place has thrown the keys back to the lender, they say they don’t want to be in Chicago any more,” Kelly said.

The Magnificent Mile is Chicago’s premier commercial district. Water Tower Place, named after the historic landmark that survived the Great Fire, is a 74-story skyscraper with a shopping mall, hotel, theater and condominiums.

“Real Chicagoans are asking me how could you possibly even consider running for re-election as mayor of the city of Chicago after all the harm you’ve caused,” Kelly said.

Lightfoot replied: “Well, I disagree with you fundamentally, and I don’t think I need to address and dignify your comments one second further. Next question.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, when Lightfoot entered office in 2019,  there were 498 homicides. That figure spiked to 772 in 2020 and and 797 in 2021. Through April 14, there were 156 murders in 2020, which is 10 fewer at the same point the previous year.

In her speech Tuesday, Lightfoot defended her record.

“I will challenge you to find another mayor who has had to address the kinds of challenges that I have in the last three years. I don’t think you’re gonna find it because it’s an unprecedented set of challenges: A pandemic, historic economic meltdown, civic unrest, spiking violence … all happening within about a six-month period,” she said.

See Lightfoot’s exchange with reporter William J. Kelly:

One year ago, Lightfoot’s policy of accepting interview requests only from black or brown reporters was exposed.

Lightfoot reacted on Twitter to outrage over the policy, arguing the reporters covering her city don’t reflect its diversity.

“I ran to break up the status quo that was failing so many. That isn’t just in City Hall. It’s a shame that in 2021, the City Hall press corps is overwhelmingly White in a city where more than half of the city identifies as Black, Latino, AAPI or Native American,” she tweeted.

“Diversity and inclusion is imperative across all institutions including media.”

The mayor said she’s “being intentional.”

“In order to progress we must change,” she said. “This is exactly why I’m being intentional about prioritizing media requests from POC reporters on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of my inauguration as mayor of this great city.”

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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