Chicago Mayor Faces Backlash After Blaming Nixon For July 4 Violence Surge

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson faced criticism from the Richard Nixon Foundation after attributing the recent surge in violence over the July 4 weekend to former President Richard Nixon. The violent spree resulted in 19 murders and 109 injuries across 74 separate incidents in the city. One of the most tragic events involved a family slaying that claimed the life of an 8-year-old boy and injured two other boys, aged 5 and 7.

In a news conference, Mayor Johnson blamed historical neglect for the violence, stating, “Black death has been, unfortunately, accepted in this country for a very long time. We had a chance 60 years ago to get at the root causes, and people mocked President [Lyndon] Johnson. And we ended up with Richard Nixon.”

The Richard Nixon Foundation quickly responded, asserting that Johnson’s accusations were unfounded and highlighting Nixon’s contributions to civil rights. The foundation outlined several key initiatives from Nixon’s administration:

Nixon’s administration developed a plan in 1971 to implement the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, leading to the desegregation of Southern schools. By 1974, only 8% of Southern schools remained segregated, down from 64% in 1969.

Between 1969 and 1972, federal funding for civil rights programs increased from $75 million to over $600 million, equivalent to more than $3.4 billion today. Nixon also initiated the Emergency School Aid Act with $1.5 million to promote interracial experiences among children in racially isolated areas.

Nixon issued an executive order mandating equal-opportunity policies across all federal agencies. He also allocated $12 million for research on sickle-cell anemia, a disease that disproportionately affects Black children. Federal purchases from Black-owned businesses increased more than 900% during his administration.

In addition, Nixon’s administration developed the “Philadelphia Plan,” which dismantled institutionalized racism in labor unions and increased jobs for minorities in the construction industry. Federal aid to predominantly Black colleges and universities more than doubled from 1969 to 1973.

Jim Byron, the president and CEO of the Richard Nixon Foundation, fired back in a statement to Fox News, calling Johnson’s comments “gratuitous” and asserting that Nixon was a champion of civil rights. “The record is clear,” Byron said. “What is happening in Chicago is heartbreaking, and I imagine the people of Chicago want leaders who take responsibility and work together to solve problems rather than try and pass the blame.”

Byron emphasized that the foundation’s correction of the record was gaining significant traction, suggesting that perceptions of Nixon’s legacy are being reconsidered in light of renewed interest in studying his life and contributions.