Aug. 07–Mayoral candidate Garry McCarthy went on Fox News again Tuesday morning, where he backed away from his previous criticism of President Donald Trump while continuing to hammer away at Mayor Rahm Emanuel for his handling of Chicago’s violence.
During the morning segment, McCarthy was asked about a statement his campaign released Monday in response to former Republican New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s recent tweets of support for him.
In his Monday statement, McCarthy said he was a “proud Democrat,” and that he did “not agree with Mayor Giuliani’s political views and I certainly remain opposed to the misguided, divisive tone and policies of Donald Trump. I cannot say strongly enough how saddened I am to see ‘America’s Mayor’ stand with a president with whom I am diametrically opposed.”
But asked Tuesday on the cable news station why he’s so opposed to Trump, McCarthy said he was against political polarization, not Trump’s policies.
“Well, this is not so much about the policies, it’s more about the polarization that’s happening in this country and in this city,” McCarthy said. “Rahm Emanuel is a polarizing figure, and we need to bring this city together. And I think that, on a national level, that same issue is happening, and we’ve got to stop it. We’ve got to get behind the president. We’ve got to get together. We’ve got to have policies that reflect our values. And it’s not so much that I’m against the president and his policies. It’s more about the divisiveness that’s going on in this country. It’s heartbreaking to me.”
McCarthy backing away from criticizing Trump’s policies is significant because Emanuel’s campaign has hammered the former top cop for his ties to the Republican president.
A day after McCarthy announced his candidacy this spring, Emanuel’s campaign launched an online attack ad featuring Trump calling the former Chicago police superintendent a “phenomenal guy.” The mayor’s campaign also has highlighted an overlap between donors to McCarthy and Trump’s political funds.
For his part, Emanuel has spent much of the last two years slamming Trump for divisive rhetoric and policies that target immigrants. At the direction of Emanuel’s Law Department, the city has sued the Trump administration on a number of issues, including an attempt by the Justice Department to withhold grant funds for Chicago because of its status as a so-called “sanctuary city” that protects undocumented immigrants from deportation.
As president, Trump routinely has taken to Twitter to criticize Chicago’s struggle to tamp down violent crime. McCarthy continued to pound away at Emanuel on the violence issue Tuesday, saying on Fox that the mayor isn’t interested in a meritocracy in government.
“He’s too interested in political bullying; he’s not doing his job,” McCarthy said. “He’s talking about global warming and the president when he’s in control of gun violence, the education system and the taxes here.”
Asked by a Fox host about an increase in gun violence in tonier neighborhoods such as Lincoln Park, McCarthy said people in those areas don’t feel safe.
“There’s no place in this city that’s safe now,” he said. “Nothing is going to change in Chicago until we first make it safe. And, you know, I get woken up by gunshots and I live in River North. And it’s just not OK. We used to be able to say, ‘Not in my backyard.’ We can’t say that anymore here in Chicago.”
Emanuel’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment. But on Friday, after McCarthy appeared on Fox News raising similar criticism the Emanuel campaign responded by pointing to recent efforts by the mayor to invest in neighborhood businesses on the South and West sides through the Chicago Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, and arguing “just about every crime category is down since Mayor Emanuel and Superintendent Eddie Johnson put more emphasis on community policing.”
Emanuel campaign spokeswoman Caron Brookens on Friday also returned to a recurrent attack against McCarthy by trying to tie him to Trump. Brookens pointed out in a statement that McCarthy has gotten money from Trump supporters. Giuliani donated the maximum $5,600 to McCarthy’s campaign efforts in January.
Giuliani, who’s now a Trump attorney, involved himself in the mayoral race during the spate of shootings in Chicago last weekend, tweeting his support Sunday for McCarthy — whom he called “Jerry” — and urging people to back him for mayor: “Chicago murders are direct result of one party Democratic rule for decades. Policing genius Jerry McCarthy can do for Chicago what I did for NYC. He was one of the architects of Compstat. Slashed homicides over 70%. Tens of thousands of lives saved.”
The weekend violence in Chicago has drawn national attention. Between 3 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Monday, 12 people were killed and 62 others were wounded by bullets, according to Tribune data.
This article provided by NewsEdge.