Can Trump really "send the feds in" to Chicago?

I’ve long since lost track of how many stories we’ve covered here about the skyrocketing murder rate and gang violence problems in the Windy City. (Talk about American carnage.) It seems that the new President hasn’t forgotten about it either and he took to Twitter this week to deliver something of an ultimatum to Mayor Rahm Emanuel… get your crime problem under control or I’m going to fix it for you. This is obviously a move designed to pick a fight with a high profile Democrat while reinforcing his plans to bolster law enforcement, so it’s going to lead to a number of liberals having their knickers in knots. But I think we’ve learned in only five days that President Trump plans to carry through on his campaign promises (or at least go to the mat trying) no matter who it angers. What’s yet to be determined, however, is precisely what this threat of “sending in the feds” would look like. (WaPo)

President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday night to re-up the idea of sending federal law enforcement to Chicago if the city’s homicide rate doesn’t come down.

“If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on,” Trump wrote, “I will send in the Feds!”


Trump has raised the prospect of Washington intervention in Chicago before. His latest musings on the subject came just two days after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) criticized the Republican president for focusing so much on the size of the crowd at his inaugural ceremony and failing in his speech to appeal to “our better angels as a country.”

I’m not going to deny that there’s probably some sparring going on here at the personal level. On Monday, Rahm was out there not only criticizing the inauguration speech, but harping on Trump about the crowd size questions. Clearly the Chicago mayor wanted this fight for whatever reason and now he’s got it.

But to what purpose? On the surface, both the mayor and the Chicago PD are acting as if they’re eager to accept some additional federal help, but it sounds like they want to pick what form that assistance takes. Both the Chief of Police and the mayor’s office are saying that they would welcome some support, but it needs to be in areas of “combating gun violence” and providing more money for police. Chicago definitely has a gun problem, but it’s the number of illegal guns (almost never bought through legal channels) in the hands of violent criminals and gang members. Throwing more money at the problem isn’t going to solve anything because it’s the city government which has failed the citizens utterly in this regard.

Emanuel’s comments don’t make it sound like they’re taking the actual problem as seriously as they should and it looks like Trump plans to shine a very bright light on that fact. The Chicago Tribune reported that the city was already up to 44 murders in the first 24 days of the year. They’ve also had more than 220 shootings. That’s actually up from last year, when the city broke violent crime records which hadn’t been seen since the 90s. It’s almost entirely because of the gangs, and Emanuel still isn’t mentioning that.

But the President has been talking about just this subject. Keep in mind that on the very day he was sworn in, this message went up at the White House web site.

The Trump Administration is committed to reducing violent crime. In 2015, homicides increased by 17% in America’s fifty largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. There were thousands of shootings in Chicago last year alone.

Our country needs more law enforcement, more community engagement, and more effective policing.

So what can Trump do? If they are invited he could clearly send in a task force from the FBI, but how many agents do we have to spare at the moment? If they do send them in they’re going to be there for a long time because this gang problem took decades to fester and grow to the current levels and it’s not going away overnight. Perhaps we’ll have more answers after John Kelly is settled into his office.