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Chicago Mayor Lightfoot defends 'call to arms' tweet amid conservative backlash

“They come after and try to harm people like me who fight for our rights,” she said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot
Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks at Chicago police headquarters on Jan. 4.Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot is fending off conservative backlash after she tweeted that the Supreme Court’s draft opinion to reverse Roe v. Wade was a “call to arms” for those in the LGBTQ community.

Conservative figures, including Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and Fox News' Laura Ingraham, accused Lightfoot of seeking to incite violence when she tweeted Monday: “To my friends in the LGBTQ+ community—the Supreme Court is coming for us next. This moment has to be a call to arms.”

Boebert told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday, “If anyone in America is an insurrectionist, it’s little Lori.”

In an interview Wednesday, Lightfoot fired back at her critics and said her tweet wasn't meant to be interpreted literally. She said she only wanted to "sound the alarm" that other protections could be at risk.

“These are the same damn people who were in on January 6 insurrection, where people were injured and died,” Lightfoot said. “So the irony of these people acting like they have any legitimacy in attacking our word choice when they have tried to foment an insurrection against our democracy? It’s beyond hypocritical. It’s ludicrous. They have no legitimacy to criticize anyone.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., asked the Justice Department in a letter Thursday to condemn a “coordinated campaign” of intimidation and threats to Supreme Court justices, citing Lightfoot’s tweet as an example. “The comments made by the president’s staff and members of the Democratic Party threaten the safety of members of the Court,” he said.

Lightfoot was thrust into the national spotlight during Donald Trump’s presidency, when he at times directly took aim at her and Chicago crime.

She said that even before the tweet this week, she had received death threats and people had shown up outside her home.

“They come after and try to harm people like me who fight for our rights," she said.

Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor who was once a finalist for the U.S. attorney’s position in Chicago, said the Supreme Court draft showed that justices were willing to ignore precedent, risking reversals of other protections. 

“This is going to be the first of many rollbacks of rights that have been recognized by the Supreme Court on a number of different sides for women’s rights and LGBTQ rights," she said.

She also said that as a Black, married, gay woman, “I’m on the menu."