In the week leading up to his announcement of a “surge” of hundreds of FBI, Justice Department, and Homeland Security personnel to Chicago, Donald Trump wanted a bigger, more public, more violent fight on the streets of the Windy City.
According to three people familiar with the president’s private remarks, Trump previously envisioned an ostentatious, camera-ready show of force. He wanted to go after what he saw as violent gang leaders, flush them out of hiding in ways that would have them “shaking in their boots” like they never had before, and have alleged perpetrators marched out in front of the news cameras. Violent crime has long plagued Chicago, and murders are spiking to highs not seen in decades. But Trump insisted that with the right leader, and the right muscle, crime there could be reduced “very quickly.”
The president said he wanted something similar to what his administration has done in Portland, an ongoing melee between protesters and rioters and unmarked federal authorities. Trump has been closely monitoring the conflict—largely on his favorite channel, Fox News—and trumpeting as a sign of his own supposed strength.
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