Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said he is perplexed by President Donald Trump’s Tuesday night tweet saying that he would “send in the Feds” to the Windy City over gun violence.
“The statement is so broad. I have no idea what he’s talking about,” Johnson told the Chicago Tribune in an exclusive.
Neither Trump or his press secretary, Sean Spicer, in a daily briefing on Wednesday, clarified the remark. He told the press pool that Trump was upset after “turning on the television and seeing Americans get killed by shootings.”
“What he wants to do is provide the resources of the federal government, and it can span a bunch of things,” Spicer said, according to a live feed of his briefing. “There’s no one thing. There can be aid, if it was requested, up through the governor through the proper channels that the federal government can provide on a law enforcement basis.”
Some thought that Trump’s tweet of “I will send in the Feds!” meant that he would deploy the National Guard. Although, some suggested that Trump may have been referring to sending FBI agents to partner with local police, which happened in Prince George’s County in Maryland after a spike in murders several years ago.
Johnson said the National Guard don’t have the authority—or training—to make arrests. “They’re not trained for this type of action,” he said.
“As the mayor said just a few hours ago, the Chicago Police Department is more than willing to work with the federal government to build on our partnerships with DOJ, FBI, DEA, and ATF and boost federal prosecution rates for gun crimes in Chicago,” Johnson also told the Washington Post.
In 2016, more than 700 people were murdered and 4,000 people were shot in Chicago. Its mayor, Rahm Emanuel, was the a White House Chief of Staff under former President Barack Obama. Trump and Emanuel met at the Trump Tower in December.
“I was clear about where I stood on immigrants, that we welcome them because they are achieving and striving to the American Dream,” Emanuel told NBC Chicago in December after the meeting. “But, also then, how to make, as a city and as a country, key investments in both the talent, the training, as well as the transportation to drive economic growth.”