Today's police have become "afraid to be tough," allowing crime to spiral "out of control" in Chicago, according to real estate billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Appearing before the Chicago Tribune editorial board and at a speech at the City Club of Chicago, the blunt-talking businessman – under fire
in his nascent campaign for describing illegal immigrants from Mexico as bringing drugs and crime into the United States – said police 50 years ago had no problem using force.
"Today if the cops ever did that they'd have 'em arrested and given the electric chair," Trump said, the Tribune reports.
"They didn't do wrong. They were just forceful. They were strong. And today it's not even politically correct to say that."
"I'm a big fan of the police, but I think the police now are afraid to act," he added.
"They're afraid to be tough."
In Chicago, the climate of violence is damaging the reputation of America's third-largest city around the world, Trump asserted.
"Crime in Chicago is out of control and I will tell you, outside of Chicago, it's a huge negative and a huge talking point, a huge negative for Chicago," he said, the Tribune reports.
"You've got to stop it. You're not going to stop it by being nice. You're going to stop it by being one tough son of a bitch."
"You need tough cookies," he added. "These are tough kids. These are not babies. These are tough, tough kids. If they saw you walking down the street, they wouldn't give a damn about you. You can't be so gentle with these people."
Trump said when he was in his teens, he and his father would regularly visit a White Castle in Brooklyn, where gangs hung out.
"And these cops would walk in there and they had sticks in those days and they'd break up those gangs and those gang members were petrified of those guys. Petrified," Trump said, the Tribune reports.
"You have some rough cops, but the cops aren't so rough today, to put it mildly, OK? And today the kids are shouting at the cops and calling them all sorts of names and laughing at them like it's a joke. Different world."
Trump also took a shot at potential GOP rivals Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, calling the economies of their states a "disaster."
Trump also derided politicians as "all talk, no action," but he spoke well of disgraced former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who did a stint on "Celebrity Apprentice" in 2010 before he was convicted and sentenced to 14 years behind bars on federal corruption charges stemming in part from attempts to sell a U.S. Senate seat.
His sentence was "awfully tough… for what supposedly he did," Trump said, the Tribune reports.
"Because what he did is what politicians do all the time and make deals."
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