Alice Qiu works in a law firm. Yaraneli Otero is a sixth grader at Thorp Elementary. Roger Green is homeless on the West Side. Desmond Sullivan is a plant operation engineer at the University of Illinois . . .
Four of the 2.7 million people living in Chicago, the third-largest city in the United States. A complicated metropolis that President Donald Trump tries to reduce to a caricature, a buzz phrase for, take your pick: epidemic crime, failed Democratic leadership, unwise immigration, ineffective gun control or some toxic combination of all of the above.
“The city of Chicago,” he once said, whipping up a rally in Florida. “What the hell is going on in Chicago?”
Trump doesn’t wait for an answer. He doesn’t want an answer, batting away any reality in conflict with the comic-book Midwest Gotham City of his imagination.
But with the president set to visit the actual Chicago, our Chicago, on Monday for the first time since being elected — to talk to a police chiefs’ convention and squeeze money from deep-pocketed backers — this seems a good moment to welcome him with a healthy portion of the one thing his administration is most starved for — the truth, served up by those in the best position to tell it: the people of Chicago.
“Chicago is beautiful. I like Chicago,” said Qiu, who came here from China a year ago and hopes to remain. “That’s why I stay here. It’s hard for Chinese people to come here and stay here, now, because of Trump.”
Otero is an 11-year-old girl but knows how Trump could be a better leader.
“He needs to accept people,” she says, marching in a CTU protest with her mother. “It doesn’t matter the race. To learn to accept everybody. People have emotions and they have feelings. He needs to know that.”
Good manners keep Green from revealing what he would tell the president.
“You don’t want to know,” he said with a laugh, wishing Trump understood this is a city of “people living, struggling.”
Sullivan, 58, of East Ukrainian Village, has only a few words for Trump, but they’re choice.
“Be a man,” he says. “Men don’t lie. Men tell the truth.”
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