Greater Chicago won’t ‘dignify’ reporter’s suggestion her policies caused ‘harm’ to city

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot shut down a reporter asking how she could consider running for reelection given the “harm” she caused to the city during her first term.

Ms Lightfoot, who was elected in 2019, refused to engage with comments from radio host William J Kelly, who asked: “Real Chicagoans are asking me, how can you possibly even consider running for re-election for mayor of the city of Chicago after all the harm you’ve caused?'”

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

Mr Kelly and Ms Lightfoot have clashed previously in videos that 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 the city’s skyrocketing crime.

Mr Kelly accused the mayor’s office of turning his microphone off after the question during their first encounter at a June 2021 press conference, suggesting that it was because he was a “white reporter in the house”.

Lori Lightfoot and William Kelly clash in 2021

Ms Lightfoot was sued last year after rejecting interviews for her second anniversary in office based on the race of reporters. She wrote in a letter explaining the move that she “will be exclusively providing one-on-one interviews with journalists of colour”.

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

Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit alleging that Ms Lightfoot purposefully violated the First Amendment rights of speech and freedom of the press, and the 14th Amendment rights of equal protection of the laws, by not responding to an interview request from Daily Caller reporter Thomas Catenacci.

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

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

“That’s not appropriate, sir, if you look around you sir, you’re surrounded by white reporters,” she said.

In that instance, the pair went back and forth for almost five minutes as Ms Lightfoot defended her record as she claimed crimes in Chicago were going down.

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

During Tuesday’s clash, Ms Lightfoot did not address Mr Kelly’s claims, which began by suggesting she opened every press conference by saying “crime is down, the economy is booming.”

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

Mr Kelly continued, saying: “Across the street, we had a police officer on duty, the victim of a hit and run, we have Michigan Avenue, the Magnificent Mile, now referred to as the mile of fear, the Water Tower Place has thrown the keys back 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 on who she considers her greatest challenger in the election, to be held in 2023.

She says she’s not focused on what other people running for older are saying.

“What I’m focused on on a day to day basis is doing my job,” she added.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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