President Trump evoked a grim vision of America during his inauguration speech with passages like this:
But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
On January 24th, Trump once again used the term “carnage” to describe an American city — this time while threatening to “send in the Feds” if Chicago doesn’t take sufficient steps to reduce its crime rate.
On January 26th, during an interview with ABC’s David Muir, Trump defended his use of the term “carnage,” and even compared Chicago to Afghanistan.
It’s carnage. You know, in my speech I got tremendous — from certain people the word carnage. It is carnage. It’s horrible carnage. This is Afghanistan — is not like what’s happening in Chicago. People are being shot left and right. Thousands of people over a period — over a short period of time.
But you can’t have those killings going on in Chicago. Chicago is like a war zone. Chicago is worse than some of the people that you report in some of the places that you report about every night in the Middle East.
They’re gonna have to get tougher and stronger and smarter. But they gotta fix the problem. I don’t want to have thousands of people shot in a city where essentially I’m the president.
It can’t be a great city if people are shot walking down the street for a loaf of bread. Can’t be a great city.
ABC’s transcript of the interview shows that Trump went on to claim that two people were murdered in Chicago during Barack Obama’s farewell speech:
Well, so far they have been unable [to reduce the crime rate]. It’s been going on for years. And I wasn’t president. So, look, when President Obama was there two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can’t have that.
They weren’t shot at the speech. But they were shot in the city of Chicago during his speech.
However, that portion of the interview was edited out. A screenshot of the transcript (highlights mine) shows the precision with which Trump’s claims were removed.
The Chicago Tribune used police records to prove that nobody was killed in Chicago on the day of Obama’s speech.