In President Donald Trump’s retelling, a mysterious Chicago police officer’s plan to solve the city’s crime problem keeps getting better.
On Wednesday, the president told Fox News host Sean Hannity that the unnamed Chicago motorcycle cop whom Trump claimed he met on the campaign trail said that “if they let us do our job we could stop [violent crime] immediately.”
That’s a quicker turnaround than Trump has claimed was possible when he previously mentioned the mystery cop in his references to Chicago crime, a favorite topic of his since he launched his run for office.
In August 2016, he told disgraced former Fox Host Bill O’Reilly that he believed the mystery cop when the officer told him he could solve Chicago’s crime problem “within a week” if he was in charge.
Then, in July, the president offered a slightly different version of the story — telling an audience of cops in Long Island, N.Y., that the officer, who he said was part of a motorcycle escort to the airport, credibly told him he could clean up Chicago in “two days” if he was in charge of the Police Department.
And on Wednesday, Trump sliced the turnaround time down to “immediately.” Telling Hannity that “Chicago is out of control” and that “minorities want police protection they need it more than everybody,” he added that, “One of the things we are doing now very strongly is the inner cities” — a claim he did not expand upon and was not pressed on by Hannity.
“I will never forget I was in Chicago, and … there was a motorcycle deal to the plane and I was talking to the police,” Trump said.
When he asked the cop what could be done to stop Chicago’s crime problem, the cop told him, “We could stop it immediately, sir,” Trump said.
“At some point you’re going to have to let them do their job,” he said of the police. “In many cases, the police are not allowed to do their job — they have to be politically correct. We’re talking about lives of wonderful people and they have to be allowed to do their job and you will see it stopped.”
Trump concluded by invoking the record of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose tough “broken windows” policing strategy coincided with a fall in crime but also a series of police shootings, cover-ups and brutality cases that mirror Chicago’s Laquan McDonald scandal.
“Rudy did a fantastic job in New York, and that’s an example,” Trump said.
The White House has repeatedly ignored requests that it identify the cop Trump says could fix Chicago’s crime problem overnight. The president previously stated that he passed the name of the officer to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel’s spokesman Adam Collins said again Wednesday that that was not true, and that Chicago officials have yet to receive the name more than a year after Trump first mentioned the mystery cop.
Collins added, “If the president has a name for this mystery person he continues to talk about, we’re all ears.
“In the meantime, we live in the real world and if the president wants to build on the reductions in violence our hard working officers are achieving, if he wants to have an immediate effect on gun violence, he could do something to stop the guns that flow into our city from Indiana and Wisconsin.”
The Tribune’s Liam Ford contributed.