Leaders across the ideological spectrum in Chicago are criticizing Mayor Lori Lightfoot for her use of the f-word in reference to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and for her repeated defense of the incident.
Lightfoot, a Democrat, was speaking at an LGBT Pride event over the weekend when she pointed to an ally in the audience and shouted, “f--- Clarence Thomas!” At the time, Lightfoot was referencing not only Thomas’ vote to overturn Roe v. Wade but also his concurring opinion that expressed a desire to revisit the legalization of same-sex marriage. (No other justice signed Thomas’ concurring opinion.)
The mayor then doubled down on social media.
“I said what I said,” she said in one tweet.
“If my language bothers you more than the destruction of our civil rights, then we don’t need to know anything else about you,” she said in another tweet.
If my language bothers you more than the destruction of our civil rights, then we don’t need to know anything else about you. https://t.co/ThXb9NI2xU— Lori Lightfoot (@LoriLightfoot) June 28, 2022
But six politicians who are vying to unseat her in 2023 – most of them Democrats – criticized Lightfoot.
“It’s pretty embarrassing. There’s ways to criticize without inciting people to mob action,” former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, a Democrat, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Even if you were echoing what somebody else said in the crowd, it’s dangerous and totally inappropriate. You’re almost trying to agitate people to violence when you think about it. ... If that’s not an invitation – if that’s not sanctioning it through your rhetoric – I don’t know what does.”
State Rep. Kam Buckner, a Democrat, agreed.
“It’s not something that I would say,” Buckner said. “It’s not something that I would expect from the person who is representing this city on the public stage. We’ve got to be mindful that our young people are watching. Our young people are listening.”
Businessman Willie Wilson said Lightfoot’s language “encourages violence.”
“I condemn all things that would make anybody feel or give the impression of violence,” Wilson said. “That just ain’t the way to go.”
Another challenger, Ray Lopez, said Lightfoot’s language shows she is not fit for office.
“Either you’re pandering just to get votes, or you have no respect for the office you hold,” Lopez told the Sun-Times. “It’s undignified, and it’s beneath the city of Chicago to act in this manner — especially in public. It takes vulgarity to a whole new level and further diminishes the office and the respect we hope people have for it.
“She needs to apologize,” he added. “Our youth, our future leaders, watch her actions. To normalize this kind of vitriolic response when you don’t get your way is just bad leadership, albeit a hallmark of her administration.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Scott Olson/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.