The Chicago Police Department denied Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's claim this week that he met with a "top" Chicago officer and argued the city's violence would not be solved with "tough police tactics." "We've discredited this claim months ago," CPD spokesperson Frank Giancamilli said Tuesday in a statement. "No one in the senior command at CPD has ever met with Donald Trump or a member of his campaign."
Donald Trump recently delivered a speech in which he declared that if he's elected, urban street crime will effectively disappear. "This chaos and violence will end and it will end very, very quickly," the Republican candidate boasted.
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly asked Trump on Monday night how, exactly, he intends to achieve this, pointing to urban violence in Chicago as an example of an intractable problem. The GOP nominee responded by saying he'd allow local police officers to become "very much tougher than they are right now."
In fact, Trump said he met this year with "very top police" officers in Chicago who assured him they could stop "much of this horror show" in just "one week." How? Through "tough police tactics."
There's now a question, however, as to whether or not Trump's conversation actually happened. The NBC affiliate in Chicago reported:
The Chicago Tribune spoke to a Trump campaign spokesperson who said that when the candidate claimed to have spoken to "very top" officers in Chicago, he meant he spoke to officers who were "capable, smart and talented."
Which officers? Trump and his team don't know. How would they stop violence within a week? Trump and his team don't know that, either. What kind of policies would constitute "tough police tactics."? Trump and his team haven't said.
It's tough to say with any confidence whether or not the entire exchange between Trump and "very top" officers in Chicago was imaginary, and given the Republican presidential hopeful's habit of telling tall tales, it's possible the conversation never happened.
Either way, Slate noted that that the city of Chicago, which Trump wants to see adopt "much tougher" police tactics, "recently created a reparations fund for victims of police torture, which means whatever Trump and his top guys have in mind must be very tough indeed."