President Donald Trump on Monday said the Justice Department is preparing to launch a sweeping crackdown on crime that he named "the surge," a term commonly associated with the George W. Bush administration's decision to send tens of thousands of additional troops into Iraq in 2007.
"In coming weeks, Attorney General Barr will announce a new crackdown on violent crime—which I think is so important—targeting gangs and drug traffickers in high crime cities and dangerous rural areas," Trump said during the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago. "Let's call it the surge."
The president did not provide any details on the plan but said it is going to be "very dramatic."
"And you're going to see tremendous results very quickly," Trump added.
As if to emphasize his view of America's cities as war zones, Trump went on to tout his administration's success in putting military equipment into the hands of U.S. police officers and claimed "Afghanistan is a safe place" compared to Chicago.
"To help keep you safe, I've made $600 million-worth of surplus military equipment available to local law enforcement," Trump told the audience of police chiefs. "If you remember, the previous administration didn't want to do that... They didn't want to make you look so tough. They didn't want to make you look like you're a threat."
Watch Trump's remarks:
Trump's visit to Chicago, the first of his presidency, was met with massive protests led by Indivisible Chicago and other progressive advocacy groups. Striking Chicago public school teachers also cleared their Monday afternoon schedule to take part in demonstrations against the president.
"We have heard that President Donald Trump might be in town," leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union wrote in an email to members late Sunday. "If any members were inclined to show up outside his fundraiser in red, that would qualify as productive, in our view.”
Thousands of protesters gathered and marched outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower in downtown Chicago, where the president attended a big-money campaign fundraiser after the law enforcement conference:
Chants of "this is what democracy looks like," and "vote Trump out now" as protesters walk north on Michigan Avenue. They've been marching all over downtown after leaving Wacker Drive across from Trump Tower. pic.twitter.com/RKjfAzzpCb
— CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) October 28, 2019
Thousands of people out here in the streets to protest this guy.
— Indivisible IL9 - Andersonville-Edgewater (@indivisible9IL) October 28, 2019
— Indivisible Chicago-South Side (@IndivChi_South) October 28, 2019
"We're angry," Marj Halperin of Indivisible Chicago told The Guardian. "He is taking pleasure in the misery of our city. He doesn't know us. He's coming to our city to raise money, largely from people who don't live in this city, without ever having addressed, supported, listened to the people who really need help."