Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has blasted her critics as sexist and racist – just six weeks after she sparked fury by refusing to be interviewed by white journalists.
Her comments came in an interview with WTTW, a local PBS station, when she was discussing the city’s recent spike in violence as well as critiques of her approach to handling it.
Phil Ponce, of WTTW, said, ‘In recent months, there have been questions raised about your temperament and your reaction to criticism – a (Chicago) Tribune editorial used the term irascible – how much of this do you think might have to do with the fact that you’re a woman and specifically a black woman?’
In response, Lightfoot said, ‘99percent of it.’
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has blasted her critics as sexist and racist in an interview with WTTW, a local PBS station
Lightfoot also addressed the backlash she faced after refusing to be interviewed by white journalists to mark her two-year anniversary
Asked to elaborate, Lightfoot said, ‘Look at my predecessors. Did people say that Rich Daly held tea sessions with people that he didn’t disagree on? Ron Emmanuel was a polite guy who was a uniter? No. Woman and people of color are always held to a different standard. I understand that. I’ve known that my whole life.’
‘And the Tribune or whoever could write what they want. What I’m doing is fighting for the residents of this city. I’m an advocate. I’m going to continue fighting. Obviously we need to be focused on uniting people as much as we can, but I was elected and ran on disrupting the status quo. And when you disrupt the status quo, you are gonna make people uncomfortable. You’re are gonna have people criticizing you.’
Ponce and Lightfoot referenced an op-ed by The Chicago Tribune’s editorial board titled, ‘Add to Chicago’s problems our defensive, irascible mayor.’
The article read, ‘What voters didn’t know is that they also were getting in Lori Lightfoot someone with a tendency toward the thin-skinned, the defensive, the short-tempered. And no, those aren’t personality quirks assigned to female leaders that would be treasured in a man. They are traits that interfere with advancing the goals of any politician, boss, CEO.’
‘Lightfoot would have more wins on her policy agenda if she could better manage relationships. Instead, she battles with those from whom she needs support — from Chicago aldermen to state lawmakers to her own staff and even rank-and-file police officers, a constituency she desperately needs to help keep the city safe but for whom she offers little public support.’
Lightfoot noted that the editorial was published shortly after she faced backlash in May over her decision to grant one-on-one interviews to only ‘black and brown’ reporters to mark her two-year anniversary in the role.
Gregory Pratt, a Chicago Tribune reporter who is Latino, revealed he was among those who had been granted an interview but the newspaper decided to cancel it when Lightfoot refused to lift her ban on other reporters.
‘I am a Latino reporter @chicagotribune whose interview request was granted for today. However, I asked the mayor’s office to lift its condition on others and when they said no, we respectfully canceled,’ Pratt tweeted. ‘Politicians don’t get to choose who covers them.’
The Young American’s Foundation, a conservative network geared toward college students, wrote in a tweet on Thursday that, ‘Lori Lightfoot has failed Chicago’ in response to her latest claims
Lightfoot, who is the city’s first female black mayor, said to WTTW, ‘This criticism comes just about a month or so after I made a pointed decision at my two-year anniversary that I was only gonna give interviews for that two-year anniversary to journalists of color and it was like the sky was falling on the part of some of the folks that are embodiments of the status quo, including some of the media folks.
‘Look around, look at the Tribune editorial board. Look at the editorial boards of most of the big media companies here in this city. They do not reflect our diversity and many of the people on those boards don’t even live in Chicago. So I’m sorry if I offend people by fighting for what people elected me to do, which is disrupt the machine, disrupt the status quo and make city government more responsive to the residents.’
Following the interview, Lightfoot drew even more ire from her critics. The Young American’s Foundation, a conservative network geared toward college students, wrote in a tweet on Thursday that, ‘Lori Lightfoot has failed Chicago.’
And Tucker Carlson took aim at the mayor on his Fox News show.
He said: ‘This is Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot was destroying our city explaining that anyone who complains about Chicago skyrocketing murder rate, anyone who mentions that is both a racist and a sexist.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been slammed for sending an ‘unhinged’ email to one of her female staffers berating her for failing to scheduled enough ‘office time’
Lightfoot was blasted for sending a bizarre message last month repeating phrases to berate her staff for not coming into their office to work
‘People are fleeing Chicago in huge numbers because Lori Lightfoot has completely mismanaged at the city. Dozens of people were shot last weekend, people are dying because of her mismanagement, but she takes no responsibility at all. None of them do. It’s always your fault.
‘I wonder how long the country is going to put up with this. No wonder our leaders seem so paranoid about Q-Anon and Proud Boys and all of these groups you’ve never heard of. Are they worried about groups that pose no threat to them? Maybe they know if they keep acting like this, there may be a revolution. These people are too incompetent, too nasty, too selfish, and too stupid to lead this country.’
Last month, Lightfoot was also compared to Jack Torrance – the crazed character played by Jack Nicholson in The Shining – after sending an angry email which repeated the phrase ‘Breaks or transition times between meetings are not office time,’ in a bid to berate staff.
So far in 2021, shootings have gone up by 12 percent compared to the same period last year, with 1,489 incidents this year and 1,333 in 2020. This is a 59 percent increase since 2019, according to the Chicago Police Department’s crime statistics for the week ending June 27.
Shootings were down in June, however, by 20percent, compared to last year. And total criminal complaints filed in the past 7 days have stagnated compared to the same period in 2020. There were 944 complaints reported this year, a three percent change from last year’s 918.