Fact-Check: Ivanka Trump Conflates Chicago Gun Violence Statistics

In a Tuesday tweet, the president’s daughter and advisor misstated the context and location of shootings in Chicago over the weekend.

Ivanka Trump. (Alexandra Beier/Getty Images)

Over the weekend, mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio left 31 dead and dozens more wounded. Additionally, the city of Chicago experienced yet another bloody summer weekend of gun violence. As President Donald Trump came under intense criticism for his divisive rhetoric in the wake of the mass shootings, his daughter Ivanka took to Twitter to express concern about unrelated shootings in Chicago. 

“As we grieve over the evil mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, let us not overlook that Chicago experienced its deadliest weekend of the year,” she tweeted. “With 7 dead and 52 wounded near a playground in the Windy City—and little national outrage or media coverage—we mustn’t become numb to the violence faced by inner city communities every day.”

At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, both Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson swiftly condemned the first daughter’s statements as “wrong” and “misleading.” But what part of these tweets was incorrect, and how did Trump get the story mixed up? We took a closer look to find out. 

Conflated numbers 

As Lightfoot and Johnson pointed out at Tuesday’s press conference, the tweets imply that the victims all came from a single shooting incident. In reality, those numbers represent citywide statistics for gun casualties that occurred between Friday, August 2 and Sunday, August 4. 

“She said seven killed and 52 shot near a playground. That’s not what happened,” Johnson said. “She’s conflating the whole weekend activity into one incident.”

One shooting that left seven injured did occur near a playground in Douglas Park during the early morning hours on Sunday, as the Sun-Times pointed out. But the rest of the victims sustained gunshot wounds from many other isolated shooting incidents around the city.  

According to CPD Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, Trump was also wrong in saying that last weekend was the deadliest weekend of 2019 for Chicago, although it was the most violent weekend in terms of total shooting victims. Data collected by the Sun-Times shows that gun violence left nine dead after a weekend in mid-July and eight dead in early June

While news of the violence here in Chicago certainly took a backseat to the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton nationally, Trump mischaracterized the situation by saying there was “little national outrage or media coverage.” The outbreak of gun violence was front-page news in the Chicago Tribune and the Sun-Times, and it even found its way into Monday’s issue of The New York Times

After angrily lamenting Trump’s dissemination of misleading information—the original post got over 35,000 likes and 8,000 retweets on Twitter—Lightfoot took the occasion as an opportunity to explain what a healthy partnership between Chicago and the federal government might look like. 

“That’s the danger of trying to govern via Tweet,” the mayor said. “If they want to help, they should actually call us and ask for specifics, which we’d be happy to share, and we would offer them specific ways in which the federal government can actually partner with us to help address the issue of violent crime.” 

While Trump failed to issue a formal retraction or correction, the White House did release a statement regarding the situation following Lightfoot’s comments. 

"Ivanka has appreciated getting to know Mayor Lightfoot, respects her commitment to addressing this issue and looks forward to continuing the conversation around this issue, workforce development and economic opportunity for all,” the White House said. “To the extent that her quote was misleading in implying that all of the shooting incidents occurred in one location, it remains important to note that there were 7 deaths and 52 wounded across the city, resulting in one of the deadliest weekends in the city this year.”

Still, the mayor emphasized the importance of communication in getting the facts right the first time, especially when those facts involve sensitive issues like gun violence. 

“It’s important when we’re talking about people’s lives to actually get the facts correct, which one could easily do if you actually cared about getting it right,” she said. 

Our ruling 

Ivanka Trump tweeted “that Chicago experienced its deadliest weekend of the year...With 7 dead and 52 wounded near a playground.”

Only seven of the wounded were shot in an incident that occurred near a playground in Douglas Park. Last weekend also was not the deadliest weekend of the year in Chicago, according to data from CPD. 

As a result, Trump severely misstated the gun violence situation in Chicago during the first weekend of August. We rate her claim Mostly False.


MOSTLY FALSE — The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context. 

Click here for more on the six PolitiFact ratings and how we select facts to check.

Sources

“At least 31 killed in US weekend mass shootings,” CNN.com, Aug. 6, 2019

Tweet, Ivanka Trump, Aug. 6, 2019

Press conference, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Aug. 6, 2019

“Lightfoot lashes out at Ivanka Trump for shining the light on city’s violence but misstating facts,” Chicago Sun-Times, Aug. 6, 2019

Email interview: Anthony Guglielmi, chief communications officer for the Chicago Police Department, Aug. 6, 2019

“9 killed, 32 wounded in Chicago weekend shootings,” Chicago Sun-Times, July 15, 2019

“52 shot — 8 fatally — in Chicago’s most violent weekend this year,” Chicago Sun-Times, June 3, 2019

“His son was killed in the worst shooting of Chicago’s most violent weekend. He ‘just happened to be one of them,’” Chicago Tribune, Aug. 6, 2019

“Johnson deploys more cops after shootings leave 1 dead, 16 wounded in just over 2 hours in North Lawndale,” Chicago Sun-Times, Aug. 4, 2019

“Chicago Has Its Worst Weekend of Gun Violence in 2019 as 7 Are Killed,” The New York Times, Aug. 5, 2019

Tweet, Gregory Pratt, Aug. 6, 2019