Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein isn’t buying into Donald Trump’s tough talk about curtailing crime in Chicago, and he wasn’t afraid to share that opinion while appearing with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel during a Becoming a Man (B.A.M.) mentoring session on Wednesday afternoon.
Epstein, who publicly supported and donated to democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election, categorized President Trump’s suggestions as nothing more than political “grandstanding” that will do more to halt progress than lead or sustain it.
“Honestly, it seems like grandstanding to me personally,” Epstein said on Wednesday. “Federal resources are more important than words to create headlines for the president. There are a lot of specific requests that Chicago has made of the federal government. Starting by addressing those specifics in a constructive way would be really helpful.”
Earlier on Wednesday, President Trump continued his critical commentary on Chicago crime during a meeting with African-American community leaders in Washington D.C. During the meeting, Trump reiterated that if Chicago city officials don’t take the steps he deems necessary, “we’re going to solve the problem for them.”
Meanwhile, Epstein was doing more than talking about it. He engaged the community and says he came away a “better man” after his mentoring session at the Hyde Park Academy for at-risk youth.
Esptein noted that interacting on a personal level with youths helped him see things from their perspective and feel empathy that if spread could become the driving force behind real change. He also suggests grassroots programs like B.A.M. need the support of political and community leaders, because the conversations that can be had and the messages that will be spread start and end with those being directly impacted.
“I’m focused more — and I think the mayor is focused more — on progress and solutions than on any damage that might be done by some sort of political grandstanding,” Epstein said. “The mayor is focused on finding real-world solutions like B.A.M.”
Agree or not, Epstein’s efforts should be applauded and his suggestions should be taken seriously. In the search for real solutions, It seems far more effective to engage the community, assess what’s really wrong and why, and then set a better example.
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