SAN JOSE, Calif. — In an interview Thursday with Fox News host Sean Hannity, President Donald Trump compared Oakland — and three other majority-minority cities — to "living in hell," which drew the near-immediate ire of Mayor Libby Schaaf.
Schaaf wasted no time in taking advantage of her moment under Trump's spotlight. An hour after a video clip of the interview was posted to Twitter, Schaaf quote-tweeted her own rebuke.
"Hell is another four years of this racist in the White House," Schaaf wrote, adding the hashtags #Vote and #ElectionsMatter.
Rep. Barbara Lee, who represents Oakland in the U.S. House, issued a rebuke of her own Friday morning.
"We understand that a beautiful, creative, strong, enlightened and diverse town like Oakland must seem like hell to you, so please feel free to never come here," Lee wrote on Twitter.
Leading up to the exchange, Hannity had framed the conversation around "law and order," prompting Trump by saying "I don't know how people pursue their happiness and dreams in life if they don't have basic fundamental security."
"You can't," Trump responded, then, without evidence, calling Chicago "worse than Afghanistan ... worse than Honduras, Guatemala. ...
"Take a look at Detroit, take a look at what's happening in Oakland, take a look at what's happening in Baltimore," Trump continued. "And everyone gets upset when I say it; they say, 'Oh, is that a racist statement? He's not a racist.' Frankly, Black people come up to me and say, 'Thank you, thank you, sir, for saying it.' It won't help. These cities, it's like living in hell."
Trump claimed that "last week they shot 14 and 18 people killed," but he did not specify who "they" were.
According to Oakland PD's weekly crime reports, there were nine total homicides and shootings last week and seven the week before.
After downtown was besieged by looting under the cover of peaceful protests following George Floyd's murder, the boarded-up windows of businesses began to burst with color as local artists lined Broadway and surrounding streets with murals.
"You see Seattle. You see New York City. You see people dying in the autonomous zone," Hannity said, without providing any other information. There have been four shootings in Seattle's Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone — which at its peak took up six city blocks and has since been renamed Capitol Hill Organized Protest — leaving one person dead.
"If they don't do something with Seattle, we're going to go in there," Trump threatened.
Trump also advocated bringing back "stop and frisk" policing, which was ruled unconstitutional.
"You go take away guns," Trump said.
In the last year the New York Police Department operated under the "stop and frisk" policy, 55% of New Yorkers who were stopped were Black, while white people accounted for 10% of stops, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union. Of all the stops, 89% were innocent, the NYCLU said.
Schaaf isn't the first Bay Area mayor to enter a recent public feud with the president. In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, San Francisco Mayor London Breed called Trump's plan to reopen the country by Easter "ridiculous" and asked, "Why are we still listening to the president?"
At the time, there were just over 60,000 confirmed cases around the country. There are now more than 2 million, with more than 110,000 Americans who have died.
Last year, Trump called the streets of San Francisco "disgusting," to which Breed responded, "Either you're the president of all of the United States or you're just choosing to be the president of a few."
Here's a transcript of Trump's exchange with Hannity, which was part of a 30-minute interview that aired June 25:
Hannity: We first have to have law and order. These big cities, we've watched Chicago's violence for how long now? All through the Obama-Joe Biden administration —
Trump: Years ago.
Hannity: — they barely mentioned it in eight years. You see Seattle. You see New York City. You see now people dying in the autonomous zone. I don't know how people pursue their happiness and dreams in life if they don't have basic fundamental security.
Trump: You can't. Chicago's an example. It's like worse than Afghanistan. It's worse than — I shouldn't say it because they're working with us — Honduras, Guatemala. They're all working with us now. You know we have our lowest numbers? Phenomenal numbers on the border. Border patrol has done a great job. We've built 220 miles of wall. It's going up very rapidly. We should be doing about 10 miles a week now. It'll be completed very soon. What we've done there is incredible, but you look at Honduras, Guatemala, all these different places, we have cities that are worse, in some cases far worse. Take a look at Detroit, take a look at what's happening in Oakland, take a look at what's happening in Baltimore. And everyone gets upset when I say it; they say, 'oh, is that a racist statement? He's not a racist.' Frankly, Black people come up to me and say, 'Thank you, thank you, sir, for saying it.' It won't help. These cities, it's like living in hell. Last week, and I think two weeks before that, they shot 14 and 18 people killed. And 68 people in Chicago.
Hannity: 104 last weekend.
Trump: If I've ever seen a case — I know it's very controversial to say — stop and frisk, OK? Stop and frisk. You take guns away. Rudy Giuliani was a great mayor. He did it in New York. He started it and it worked great. Bloomberg blew it because he went crazy with it and ultimately took away a lot of rights and it wasn't a good job he did. But Rudy Giuliani started stop and frisk and it was a great thing he did for New York.