‘Not welcome here’: protesters prepare for Trump Chicago visit


Trump is set to go face-to-face with the city he maligns as a disaster for his first time as president

The last hour Donald Trump came to Chicago, protesters forced the cancellation of a campaign rally.

It was March 2016, and the reality TV star was on his route to becoming the Republican nominee for president. His events were already infamous for the violence they inspired in his supporters. The Friday evening rally on the campus of University of Illinois at Chicago, one of the most diverse colleges in the country, had a powder keg feel. It turned out even more chaotic than expected, marked by angry clashes between protesters and Trump supporters.

” It’s sad when you can’t have a rally ,” Trump said, after the event was scrapped.

Trump hasn’t been back to Chicago since- selecting instead to lob mean-spirited assaults at the city from afar and on Twitter.

That will change on Monday, when Trump is set to go face-to-face with the city he maligns as a “disaster” for his first time as chairwoman. He has appearances scheduled at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference and a big-ticket campaign fundraiser at Trump International Hotel and Tower.

Unsurprisingly, the visit will be met with protests and snubs from some leaders, a reflection of how this diverse and left-leaning city feels about a chairwoman who has described it as ” out of control. It will also give the president an opportunity to seize on high-profile Chicago issues: its gun violence problem and a teachers’ ten-strike that has tested the resolve, and credibility as a reformer, of the new mayor, Lori Lightfoot.

Trump has long loved to hold up Chicago as a model for all the things he sees wrong with Democratic policies. He’s likely to do it again on Monday. Leaders and residents do not want his input.

” He’s not welcome here ,” said Michael Pfleger, pastor at St Sabina church on the south side and a noted anti-violence activist.” He has done nothing at all to help us in Chicago except demonize us, and we don’t deserve it .”

Pfleger called on the president to either visit the south and west sides, which have suffered the largest proportion of the city’s notorious firearm violence, or call off the trip-up solely. That Trump continues to weigh in on the problem of gun violence in Chicago without understanding the lives and concerns of those affected by it, Pfleger said, further underscores his inability to truly help the city.

” He builds it appear as though the problem with Chicago is people in Chicago ,” he said, “rather than that we all have a piece in this pie.”

Trump is due to begin his day at the police chiefs’ conference, which will be boycotted by Chicago’s top policeman, Eddie Johnson.

” I will not be attending the president’s speech because the values of the people of Chicago are more important than anything he would have to say ,” Johnson said in a statement last week.

From there, Trump will attend a fundraising lunch at his own building, which bears his name in huge letters. The downtown tower has been the site of numerous protests since his election win in 2016. Demonstrators will gather for his latest visit.

A coalition led by Indivisible Chicago and Indivisible Illinois, progressive organizations created in the wake of his victory, is planning a” Get Out of Our House” rally to send a message that he’s not wanted here.

Read more: www.theguardian.com


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