Less than two weeks after President Donald Trump launched a racist attack against the city of Baltimore, describing it as highly dangerous and a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” his daughter has sparked her own conflict with a major American city.
On Tuesday, Ivanka Trump tweeted out a reminder to remember Chicago’s continued gun violence as a way of addressing the national conversation about firearms and mass shootings.
“As we grieve over the evil mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, let us not overlook that Chicago experienced its deadliest weekend of the year,” she tweeted. “With 7 dead and 52 wounded near a playground in the Windy City—and little national outrage or media coverage—we mustn’t become numb to the violence faced by inner city communities every day.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot took umbrage at the White House adviser’s statement, and at a news conference later that day, she contested Trump’s presentation of the numbers.
“It wasn’t a playground, it was a park. It wasn’t seven dead, it wasn’t 52 wounded in one incident, which is what this suggests. It’s misleading,” Lightfoot said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “It’s important when we’re talking about people’s lives to actually get the facts correct, which one can easily do if you actually cared about getting it right.”
According to the Tribune, 55 people were shot in Chicago over the weekend, and seven of those were killed. The shootings happened around the city, and they represented a spike in gun violence. Chicago’s gun crime can be linked in large part to gang activity, and the Tribune reports that even though violent crime has decreased from last year, at least 1,600 people have been shot this year.
Lightfoot has focused on violent crime during her tenure, and critics and defenders can debate her level of success. But Lightfoot told the Tribune that even if Chicago’s violence is a problem, Trump was inappropriately comparing two entirely separate issues when she mentioned Chicago’s gun crimes as related to the national epidemic of mass shootings. “I’m not going to be distracted by nonsense tweets from people who don’t know what they’re talking about,” she said.
A spokeswoman for Trump responded to Lightfoot’s comments on Tuesday, dismissing the mayor’s statement as focused on unnecessary detail. “To the extent that [Trump’s] quote was misleading in implying that all of the shooting incidents occurred in one location, it remains important to note that there were 7 deaths and 52 wounded across the city, resulting in one of the deadliest weekends in the city this year. Her point remains the same, we cannot ignore the gun violence that happens in cities across this country on a daily basis.”
A day before Ivanka Trump’s tweet, Lightfoot had spoken about the president. “What he’s been doing is blowing every racist, xenophobic dog whistle. When you do that, when you blow that kind of dog whistle, animals come out,” Lightfoot said, calling on Trump to push for gun control legislation.
Lightfoot was not the only politician to take offense at the Trumps’ focus on violence in Chicago. “This president continues to talk down to major cities in this country. He does nothing to help,” Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth said in support of Lightfoot at an anti-violence event Tuesday evening. “If he had concerns about Chicago, then come do something about it.”