Embattled Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was slammed Monday ahead of this week’s election for claiming that critics of her four-year tenure just don’t want to see “a black woman” in leadership.
Lightfoot, 60, the first black female and first openly lesbian mayor of the Windy City, told the New Yorker in a piece published Saturday that she bristles at her portrayal by the media, even as she has struggled to battle Chicago’s decades-high murder rate.
“I am a black woman—let’s not forget,” she told the outlet. “Certain folks, frankly, don’t support us in leadership roles.”
Critics jumped on Lightfoot’s woe-is-me routine after the city recorded 695 homicides in 2022 and more than 800 in 2021.
“I think Lori’s time is up,” Chicago radio host Ray Stevens told “Fox & Friends First” on Monday. “Chicago has a rampant crime problem, and not only is it in Chicago, but it has reached the collar counties.”
“I don’t think it comes down to race,” Stevens added. “There are people living in these communities that just want to be safe.”
Fox News contributor Joe Concha agreed, saying that Lightfoot’s comments amounted to pulling “the race card from the bottom of the deck.”
“Crime has completely gone out of control under her watch, and she seems to have no solutions around it,” he said. “This is what happens. Elections have consequences, Lori Lightfoot will be gone.”
Lightfoot faces eight other candidates in Tuesday’s election — which, while officially non-partisan, amounts to a Democratic primary in the deep-blue city. If no candidate cracks 50% of the vote, the top-two vote-getters advance to an April 4 runoff.
Recent polls indicate that Lightfoot may be on the outside looking in of a runoff, with US Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas seen as most likely to advance.
Despite eight of the nine mayoral candidates being persons of color, Lightfoot compared her critics to the opposition faced by Chicago’s first black mayor.
“The same forces that didn’t want Harold Washington to succeed, they’re still here,” she told the New Yorker, referring to the Democrat who was elected in 1983 and died in office soon after winning re-election in 1987. “The last time we had an African American mayor in power was forty years ago. It’s important for us not to repeat history.”
Critics piled on Lightfoot last month after she was caught busting dance moves during a Lunar New Year parade amid the city’s crime surge, prompting one alternative Chicago news outlet to say she was “detached from reality.”
“Since @chicagosmayor’s term began, Chicago has suffered 2,278 homicides and over 9,000 shot. Since January 1, the city has endured 41 homicides and 194 shot,” the Chicago Contrarian said in a tweet.
Lightfoot also came under fire this month for telling voters not to show up to the polls if they wanted to cast a vote for Garcia or Vallas over her.
“If you want them controlling your fate and your destiny, then stay home … then don’t vote,” she said, later apologizing and saying she had misspoken.
The Chicago mayor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.