What happens when a hot mic, profanity, a mayor and a Black History Month speech all come together?
A whole lot of explaining, as shown by what took place in Chicago Wednesday after Mayor Lori Lightfoot made some very unscripted comments during a virtual City Council meeting.
Lightfoot’s gift of impolitic gab had put her in some hot water in 2019 when she was caught referring to Patrick Murray, then the second-vice-president of the Fraternal Order of Police, as “this FOP clown.” She later said she was “sorry I said that out loud,” but did not apologize for the actual comment.
She topped that one Wednesday as council member Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez was speaking in honor of Black History Month, as part of a resolution commemorating the occasion.
“You’ve got to be f—-ing kidding me,” Lightfoot said in very audible remarks that were red meat for social media, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The mayor later said her comments had nothing to do with what was taking place at the council meeting.
“Sorry to disappoint the Twitter trolls, but my comment had nothing to do with anything that was actually going on at City Council. I’ve explained that to Alderman Rodriguez and she understands that,” she said to reporters.
Sanchez said Lightfoot sent her a text to calm the waters.
“She sent a text saying that her staff brought something to her attention and that was her expression to what her staff brought to her while she was presiding,” Sanchez told the Sun-Times.
“I’m going to take her words as the truth and I’m gonna move on.”
Sanchez was asked whether she would label the mayor’s comment an apology.
“It wasn’t an apology. It was a clarification. … She texted me to clarify that what was said was not said in reference to what I said,” Sanchez said.
Lightfoot’s profane interjection came as Sanchez was saying “the Latino culture struggles a lot with anti-Blackness” and discussed “embracing Blackness in our cultures.”
“In the Puerto Rican culture, there is a feeling of anti-Blackness. And I was talking about the importance of uplifting Blackness in our communities. I talked about sending love and solidarity to Black people in the United States. Feeling the exhaustion of existing while Black in the United States,” Sanchez said.
According to WTTW-TV, Lightfoot’s comment came just after she was informed two council members had blocked a vote on her plan to spend COVID-19 relief funding. Lightfoot has proposed using $281.5 million to pay for salaries and benefits for Chicago police. The council members who blocked the vote oppose that decision.
That would directly contradict Lightfoot’s statement that the hot mic had nothing to do with what was going on in City Council.https://t.co/vGHiWRrS9u
— Ignacio Aliseda Stan Account (@nackoball) February 24, 2021
Sanchez was asked to opine about whether the mayor could have been reacting to her words.
“I have no idea what the mayor was thinking. But I would not want to believe that was the case. I don’t think that there is any reason for her to talk that way about any comments that I made today,” she said, according to the Sun-Times.
“I’m pretty sure she was probably talking about something else and didn’t mute her microphone. I am pretty confident that there was no reason. I didn’t say anything in my speech that would prompt not only the mayor, but anybody, to say something like that,” she said.
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