As part of my ongoing effort to join Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s crusade to say good things about Chicago, I’m happy to note that Donald Trump hates our fair city.
In fact, I’d say Chicago ranks near the top of the list of people, places, and things that Trump really, really loathes—somewhere between Alec Baldwin and Rosie O’Donnell. Second City, my ass!
Trump has said plenty of nasty things about Chicago, mostly having to do with the city’s violence epidemic. For example, there was the infamous tweet from January: “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on . . . I will send in the Feds!” (It hasn’t and he didn’t.)
It’s pretty obvious that Trump’s mastered the insincere art of acting like he cares about the city’s problems when he really just wants to taunt us with them. After all, there’s no way he would’ve gotten so far in life if he wasn’t a world-class bully.
On one level, his hatred for Chicago makes no sense, as the city’s been pretty good to Trump. Sure, protesters did close down the one major campaign rally he tried to hold in town, at the UIC Pavillion in March 2016. But most of those demonstrators were relatively powerless malcontents—you know, people like me.
It’s a somewhat different story when it comes to Chicago’s ruling elite. The most powerful man in the City Council, alderman Ed Burke, helped Trump win a hefty tax break with an appeal of the assessment on his hotel and tower along the Chicago River. And Rahm’s administration allowed Trump to slap his name on the skyscraper. (The mayor, through a spokesperson, later called the sign “awful” and “in poor taste,” but it was too late.) Late last year the City Council redeemed itself, to a degree, when it voted to remove the honorary street signs dedicated to the Donald that had been installed around Trump Tower. It was punishment for “painting a distorted caricature of Chicago” and for “comparing our great city to a decimated, war-torn country,” the 42nd Ward’s Brendan Reilly, who led the effort and in whose ward Trump Tower stands, told the Tribune. Still, it seems to me that the still-standing nameplate only cost Trump a $50,000 contribution to Rahm back in the 2011 mayoral campaign. Not only can we be bought, but at bargain-basement prices!
So why all the hate? Don’t forget: Chicago is the adopted hometown of Barack Obama. And Trump’s determined to malign, demonize, or obliterate anything even remotely connected to his presidential predecessor. In that regard, Chicago’s in good company on a Trump enemies list that includes banking regulations, the Paris climate accord, affordable health care, and peace with Cuba—just to name a few.
For the record, I’d like to point out that Obama’s actually from Hawaii. Yes, he lived in Chicago on and off for about 19 years. But apparently Trump’s decided that saying bad things about Hawaii doesn’t have quite the same impact.
I have mixed feelings about Trump’s attacks on Chicago. Certainly I can get defensive when I hear the president rip my hometown. On the other hand, living in the city Trump despises more than any other is something we can all be proud of.
Feel free to use that as a motto in your next promotional campaign, Mayor Rahm. v