plain polo shirt Emanuel rips Trump on sanctuary cities
Mayor Rahm Emanuel took aim at President Donald Trump on Wednesday in their ongoing immigration fight, saying the administration’s latest missives threatening so called sanctuary cities were meant to distract attention from the president’s failure to address the country’s infrastructure needs.
The comments came less than an hour after the Justice Department sent letters to Chicago and roughly two dozen other jurisdictions with a threat to issue subpoenas if they don’t willingly relinquish documents showing they aren’t withholding information about the immigration status of people in custody. It’s part of an ongoing legal fight over whether the federal government can withhold public safety grant money from sanctuary cities.
Emanuel, who was in Washington, opted not to go to the White House to discuss infrastructure Wednesday. New York Mayor Bill deBlasio also was among the mayors who skipped. Conference of Mayors winter meeting.
Trump, meeting with a large group of mayors in the East Room, took a shot at their colleagues who boycotted the event and assailed Democratic mayors in general as he talked about highlights of his tenure, including tax cuts and a roaring stock market.
The president said the vast majority of mayors showed up and “the mayors who choose to boycott this event have put the needs of criminal, illegal immigrants over law abiding America.”
“Sanctuary cities are the best friend of gangs and cartels, like MS 13,” Trump said.
He called the Justice Department’s latest move a “critical legal step to hold accountable sanctuary cities that violate federal law and free criminal aliens back into our communities.”
While Trump heralded some mayors in the room as “hardworking” and “brilliant,” he also said: “For 100 years, the Democratic mayors have a done a terrible I mean, they’ve done some bad work.”
Emanuel said he thinks Trump timed the letters to cities to make it tougher for the mayors conference attendees to draw attention to the fact that the president hasn’t made good on a campaign promise to deliver a massive infrastructure spending program.
“Two hundred billion dollars for a trillion dollar goal is fairy dust, it isn’t real,” Emanuel said of Trump’s infrastructure pledge. “And I also think that the two issues are related, and that the president of the United States and his administration purposely issued the subpoenas today as we were heading because they did not want to have a conversation about infrastructure,
and we all would see the emperor wears no clothes when it comes to his plan.”
“That is what’s going on,” Emanuel continued. “There’s no infrastructure plan and there’s no resources, and you cannot do the type of investments we need to do, that all of us collectively do, and you’re going to find out that this plan, the emperor wears no clothes. And that’s exactly, these two are related, because he doesn’t want to have a serious conversation.”
The president also told the group of mayors he would preview in his State of the Union speech an investment in infrastructure in the range of $1 trillion and $1.7 trillion. “We’re partnering with the state and local governments, like yours, to find the most innovative ways to rebuild our roads, bridges, waterways and airports on time and under budget,” he said.
The Trump administration has floated plans for an infrastructure package that would provide $200 billion in seed money and count on private investors and state and local governments to come up with up to $1 trillion more for projects. Chicago wants billions of dollars to help with CTA improvements and extend the Red Line south of 95th Street.
The Wednesday flap is just the latest round in the immigration fight, an issue Emanuel has sought to take the lead on nationally as he positions himself as a bulwark against the Trump administration while attempting to bolster his standing with Chicago’s sizable Latino community in the run up to a 2019 re election bid.
Those grants are typically disbursed in October, but the Trump administration has not released the money, citing the ongoing litigation.