US

Chicago mayor won’t ‘dignify’ reporter’s suggestion that his policies caused ‘harm’ to city

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked a reporter how she could consider running for re-election given the “damage” she caused the city in her first term.

Ms Lightfoot, who was elected in 2019, declined to respond to comments from radio host William J Kelly, who asked: ‘Real Chicagoans ask me, how can you even consider running for the re-election as mayor of the city of Chicago after all the harm you’ve caused?'”

Ms Lightfoot said she ‘fundamentally’ disagreed with the premise of the question, ‘and I don’t think I need to address and value your comments one more second’. She then called for the “next question.”

Mr Kelly and Ms Lightfoot have previously faced off in videos which have also gone viral. During the Covid pandemic lockdowns, the former Newsmax reporter asked the mayor if she felt “personally responsible” for losing control of skyrocketing crime in the city.

Mr Kelly accused the mayor’s office of turning off his microphone after the question when they first met at a press conference in June 2021, suggesting it was because he was a “white journalist at the home”.

Lori Lightfoot and William Kelly face off in 2021

Ms Lightfoot was prosecuted last year after she rejected interviews for her second anniversary in office due to reporters’ race. She wrote in a letter explaining the decision that she will “exclusively provide one-on-one interviews with reporters of color.”

It came after several Chicago-based reporters went public after being denied interviews, including NBC5 Chicago political reporter Mary Ann Ahern and WTTW Chicago PBS reporter Heather Cherone.

Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit alleging that Ms. Lightfoot willfully violated the First Amendment’s rights of speech and freedom of the press, and the equal protection rights of the 14th Amendment laws, by failing to respond to a request interview of daily call journalist Thomas Catenacci.

They filed a motion in December to depose Ms Lightfoot about the policy. Ms Lightfoot’s office did not respond whether the policy of rejecting interviews with white journalists was still in place, or say why she would not answer Mr Kelly’s question.

In her previous clash with Mr Kelly, she directly responded to his questions and to his suggestions that being white was a factor in his response.

“It’s not appropriate sir, if you look around sir you are surrounded by white journalists,” she said.

In this case, the pair back and forth for nearly five minutes as Ms Lightfoot defended her case as she claimed crimes in Chicago were down.

“I was polite and allowed you to spew your rhetoric, which is offensive to me and others, but I try to be polite and professional and answer your questions,” she said. before ending the trade.

During Tuesday’s clash, Ms Lightfoot did not respond to claims by Mr Kelly, who began by suggesting she opened every press conference by saying ‘crime is down, the economy is booming boom”.

“Well, that’s not true, but answer your question, sir,” she said.

Mr Kelly went on to say: “Across the street we had a policeman on duty, hit and run, we have Michigan Avenue, the Magnificent Mile, now called the Fear Mile, Water Tower Place has returned the keys to the lender, they say they don’t want to be in Chicago anymore.”

Ms Lightfoot was more willing to answer her follow-up question about who she sees as her biggest challenger in the election, which will be held in 2023.

She says she doesn’t focus on what other mayoral candidates are saying.

“What I focus on on a daily basis is doing my job,” she added.

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