Watch CBS News

Lightfoot Slams 'Litany Of Nonsense' From Trump, Stands By 'Hey Karen, Watch Your Mouth' Tweet To White House Press Secretary

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot isn't backing down in her long-running feud with President Donald Trump, accusing him of trying to "demonize" Democratic mayors – women in particular – to try to score points with his own base and distract from his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mayor also slammed Trump for "a litany of nonsense" in a letter the White House recently sent her, urging her to "secure your city."

The latest flare-up came after White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany accused Lightfoot on Thursday of not doing enough to tackle gun violence in Chicago, calling her a "derelict mayor."

Lightfoot fired back on Twitter, saying "Hey Karen, watch your mouth." Karen has become a stereotypical name to refer to rude and self-entitled middle-aged white women.

The mayor stood by her tweet on Friday, saying she will continue to speak out when the White House attacks her and other Democratic mayors. She said the Trump administration is simply trying to "change the subject from their failed leadership."

"What we've seen, and unfortunately what we're going to continue to see, is the Trump administration obviously thinks that they will score some political points by trying to demonize and make Democratic mayors – particularly women mayors like myself," Lightfoot said. "They think that they're going to take us on and make us look bad, because that will score points with their base. And to that I've said, and I'll say again, good luck. The mayors are getting it done."

Trump repeatedly has criticized Chicago's handling of violent crime during his term, and earlier this week he vowed to bring down crime in cities like Chicago "even if we have to go in and take over."

During a White House briefing on Thursday, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the number of children who have been killed in shootings across the U.S. is unacceptable, and he would take action, adding "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."

McEnany also said Trump sent Lightfoot a letter saying "you must secure your city," but the mayor said the letter was nothing more than "a litany of nonsense written by some political flak."

"This won't be the last time that his flaks try to take me on, but good luck. I'm still here. I'm going to lead this city as best I can, and we are going to get the job done to protect the residents of this city, whether or not the president ever steps up or not," Lightfoot said.

The mayor said, if Trump truly wants to help Chicago with gun violence, he would take the lead for commonsense gun control laws.

"It makes no sense that people can still buy automatic weapons. It makes no sense that people from Chicago can go across the border to Indiana and buy military-grade weapons, and bring them back to our city, and kill our children. If you really want to help, there are real specific things that I have repeatedly laid out from the beginning of this administration if you really want to help," she said. "But he doesn't really want to help. What he wants to do is use me, and this city, and other cities across the country as punching bags, and I'm not having it, period."

Lightfoot also said the Trump administration's failure to take the lead in the fight against the coronavirus "has literally cost people lives."

"The fact that the president has equivocated about the seriousness of COVID-19. The fact that he refuses to wear a face covering in public, and has mocked people for doing so. The fact that he has lied repeatedly about the resources that the federal government will provide for testing, for contact tracing," she said. "And now he's trying to marginalize and demonize the CDC, for God's sake. Where is the bottom here? Where is the bottom?"

Earlier this week, Trump retweeted a post from former game show host Chuck Woolery who, without evidence, accused the CDC of lying about COVID-19. That prompted a top member of the White House coronavirus task force to state Tuesday that "none of us lie" to the public about the pandemic.

Lightfoot said Trump's handling of the pandemic, and his repeated attacks on Democratic mayors is why she's supporting former Vice President Joe Biden in the race for president.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.