Chicago has streets named after Italian dictators, but it’s Donald Trump’s honorary street sign that’s “triggering” some city officials.
Eight Chicago alderman, entrusted with running the nation’s third-largest city, dominated a City Council meeting with a request to have Trump stripped of an honorary street sign. The sign is downtown on a segment of Wabash Street, near Chicago Trump Tower. It reads “Trump Plaza.”
The aldermen, all Democrats, said the move would “punish” the Republican Presidential candidate for characterizing Chicago as a “war zone” and, ironically, characterizing Chicago’s city government as hapless, unfocused and inept.
“Honorary street signs are meant to honor special Chicagoans who’ve made a positive contribution to our city,” Alderman Brendan Reilly, who is leading the charge, told local media on Wednesday. ‘There are millions of people who live and work here who are very proud of our city, and given his actions in recent months, he doesn’t warrant an honorary street sign.”
Trump’s comments at the debate, referencing Chicago’s out-of-control gang violence problem were the “last straw” for Reilly, who considers the remark unfair. But while the shootings and murders have been largely contained in specific neighborhoods on Chicago’s South and West sides, the city has had more than 3,000 shootings and more than 500 homicides since the beginning of 2016—an average of 12 people shot per day.
It’s unlikely taking Trump’s name off a street sign will make much of a difference in that number to most Chicago residents (though it might help Alderman Reilly sleep better at night).
Chicago’s street sign honorees have faced controversy before, but this would be the first time the city stripped a living honoree of his or her sign. The city has previously refused to retitle Balbo Drive, which is named after Benito Mussolini’s air force commander Italo Balbo.
But while Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel hasn’t spoken on the mid-century fascist, he’s supportive of the Trump name change, telling media that he want Chicagoans to do more than just protest. “Don’t just take the sign down. Let’s make sure we motivate and get out the vote.”
The Trump camp, meanwhile, says Chicago’s City Council should keep their eye on more important issues. “Ald. Reilly should spend his time focused on economic growth, educational choice, and safer streets for Chicago children instead of worrying about the signs above those streets,” they said in a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times.