Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday, July 16, called White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany a “Karen” after being criticized for failing to stop her city’s increasing violence.
“I’ve listed for you the names of these kids who have died across this country,” McEnany said during a White House press briefing earlier in the day. “It is unacceptable, and under this President, he’ll take action. And the derelict mayor of Chicago should step up and ask for federal help because she’s doing a very poor job at securing her streets.”
“Hey, Karen. Watch your mouth,” Lightfoot tweeted in response, using the term “Karen,” which is considered a racial slur against white women.
Hey, Karen. Watch your mouth. pic.twitter.com/zhjRyokKD5
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) July 16, 2020
Lightfoot has come under intense criticism over ongoing gun violence that has plagued the city in recent years. The Chicago Tribune reported that 1,901 people have been injured or killed in shooting so far this year, bringing the total to over 500 victims more than for the previous year. During the unrest after the death of George Floyd, Chicago witnessed its single most violent day in six decades with 18 people killed.
President Donald Trump last month penned a letter to Lightfoot and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, urging action to combat gun violence in the city and condemning their leadership. The president also offered federal assistance to tackle the violence in the city.
“If you are willing to put partisanship aside, we can revitalize distressed neighborhoods in Chicago, together,” President Trump wrote. “But to succeed, you must establish law and order.”
In response, Lightfoot accused the president of targeting Democratic, female mayors with “misogynistic and racist rants.”
“He has started attacking and trying to undermine every big city Democratic mayor, especially the women,” she said. “But I’ve got a message for them and for him in the common theme in these misogynistic and racist rants: the thing you need to remember, Mr. President, we are all tough women, and we’re not going to take any stuff from anybody. Even if his name starts with Mr. President. I will always, I will always honor the office of the president, but please do not ask me to honor this occupant because I do not.”
I don’t need leadership lessons from Donald Trump.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) June 27, 2020