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Mayor Lori Lightfoot dismisses unsubstantiated weekend Twitter chatter: ‘Unfortunately ... there are stupid and mean people out there’

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday dismissed unsubstantiated social media chatter from over the weekend that included claims she was about to resign, saying she at one point told her daughter, “unfortunately, honey, there are stupid and mean people out there.”

At an unrelated news conference, Lightfoot said that online chatter, which was trending on Twitter over the weekend, was “salacious and false and goes against everything and who I am.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference Dec. 17, 2020, at City Hall.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference Dec. 17, 2020, at City Hall. (Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)

“I’ll just share my exchange with my 13-year-old. … She said, ‘Why are people so stupid and mean?’” Lightfoot said. “And I said, ‘Unfortunately, honey, there are stupid and mean people out there. Luckily not the majority, but some are.”

“I will continue to lead a group of the willing all across our city who are about doing the people’s work,” Lightfoot said through her political account. “The people of Chicago elected me mayor, and I will continue to serve today, tomorrow and into the future. Back to work.

“It’s shocking and disappointing to see some media members and verified Twitter handles are peddling this trash as truth,” Lightfoot said. “If people hadn’t noticed, we have major challenges in Chicago we need to address TOGETHER. This nonsense that some apparently have the luxury of indulging in has not fed one person, stopped the pandemic, housed anyone living on the street or saved one young person.”

On Saturday, Activist Ja’Mal Green, a frequent Lightfoot critic, posted — and then deleted — a tweet saying Lightfoot was going to resign. On Sunday, Green tweeted that he was “sorry” he helped spread the rumor that she was resigning.

Green launched a long-shot bid for mayor ahead of the 2019 election but dropped out after business owner Willie Wilson challenged the signatures on his candidacy paperwork, saying the dispute drained his resources. Green went on to endorse Lightfoot over Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in the mayoral election.

The mayor said she’s willing to work with anyone who loves the city and wants to make it better but added, “The rest of you, get out of the way.”

Rumors about politicians are nothing new, particularly on social media. But it’s rare for elected officials to publicly respond to unsubstantiated rumors unless reporters ask about them at a news conference. Lightfoot’s unorthodox decision to address the tweets opens the door to more of the public finding out about the rumors than otherwise would have.

Lightfoot took a different tack in summer 2020 when rumors persisted that she planned to move from the home she shares with her family in Logan Square to a mansion in the tony Far Northwest Side Sauganash neighborhood.

The mayor’s office denied those rumors when asked, but Lightfoot herself didn’t address them until asked by a reporter at a news conference, at which point she said she had no plans to move.

Lightfoot referenced the Sauganash rumors in her Sunday tweet chain, saying, “Good morning from my mansion in Sauganash” before criticizing people for spreading the latest story.

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