CHICAGO — As civil unrest surged across the country and Chicago at the end of May, Mayor Lori Lightfoot called President Donald Trump’s son Eric to express her support, according to text messages he sent her.
Lightfoot referenced the texts last month, after President Donald Trump made an issue of her decision to raise the downtown bridges following a second round of looting. At a Wisconsin event, Trump said Lightfoot “literally raised up the drawbridges to prevent hordes of rioters from ransacking the city.”
In response, Lightfoot said, “One of the bridges we put up is near Trump Tower because our protesters and vigilantes would love nothing more than to attack Trump Tower.”
“So those little notes that I get from Eric Trump after every time that we’ve protected that property, if they want us to stop, say the word,” Lightfoot added.
The Chicago Tribune subsequently filed an open records request for any texts or emails between Lightfoot and Eric Trump.
On June 1, as the city was cleaning up from widespread looting over the weekend, the younger Trump texted Lightfoot.
“Mrs. Mayor, I am thinking about you. I really appreciated your call on Saturday – it was incredibly kind,” he wrote. “I have passed along your support to our team and residences. Please know, I and we truly appreciate you.”
The city did not release any records showing whether she replied.
Weeks later, on July 24, Eric Trump texted her again.
“Mrs. Mayor — know that I have been thinking about you. I still appreciate the call you made to me which was a class act,” he wrote. “I only imagine how difficult the situation is but know we are all rooting for Chicago … I hope you are well. Eric T.”
Late Friday, the city released a statement saying Lightfoot reached out to numerous downtown groups and businesses on May 30 “during a day of planned protests, demonstrations and unprecedented civil unrest” to update them about the city’s public safety plans. The mayor reached out to Eric Trump as part of that effort, the city said.
Lightfoot frequently throws barbs at President Trump, who regularly invokes Chicago to bolster his “law and order” campaign theme.
Although the mayor has sparred with Trump, she also has made attempts to work him and his family. He called her after she defeated Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle with congratulations.
Before she was sworn in as mayor, Lightfoot went to Washington, D.C., and had a meeting with Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a White House adviser.
But the relationship between Lightfoot and the Trumps has coarsened over time. Lightfoot ripped Ivanka Trump last year for a tweet about Chicago violence.
Earlier this year, she also blasted Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband and fellow White House adviser.
Lightfoot in May responded to Trump tweeting a message that included, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts” in reply to rioting in Minneapolis and elsewhere following George Floyd’s death by accusing the president of destabilizing the country and using a thinly veiled profanity.
“He wants to show failures on the part of Democratic local leaders, to throw red meat to his base,” Lightfoot said at the time. “His goal is to polarize, to destabilize local government and inflame racist urges. We can absolutely not let him prevail. And I will code what I really want to say to Donald Trump. It’s two words. It begins with F and it ends with U.”
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