Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot has received numerous congratulatory calls this week -- from sources expected, such as Barack Obama, and unexpected, including Donald Trump.
Lightfoot won a landslide victory Tuesday to become Chicago's first openly LGBTQ and first black female mayor. Chicago will also become the largest U.S. city with an out mayor when she is sworn in May 20.
Discussing the week's developments with the Chicago Tribune, she mentioned the call from Trump "nonchalantly," according to the paper.
"I spoke with President Trump," she said. "Very cordial conversation."
Trump has often cited Chicago as an example of a city with out-of-control crime, and he has railed against its sanctuary city policy, which keeps police and other government employees from inquiring into residents' immigration status. Lightfoot and other Chicago politicians have criticized Trump's rhetoric and policies as divisive. The city is heavily Democratic, although its municipal elections are officially nonpartisan.
Asked if she was surprised to hear from Trump, Lightfoot told the Tribune, "Yes and no, right? It's a smart, politic thing to do. Yeah, of course I was a little surprised. You know, when you get the White House operator and they say, 'Just a moment for the president of the United States,' that's a pretty heady moment."
She described the conversation as cordial, saying Trump congratulated her on her victory. They touched briefly on the city's crime rate, and he extended an offer of help.
To another Chicago news outlet, TV station WMAQ, she said, "I think he has a genuine interest in trying to be helpful to the city. No doubt, our politics could not be more different, and I'm not going to hesitate to speak out against things that I think are harmful or damaging to people here in the city who really have been harmed by a lot of the rhetoric."
"But he's still the president of the United States," Lightfoot continued. "We are due our fair share of a return on tax dollars, and I want to make sure that we're doing everything that we can, and figuring out a way to build a constructive relationship with the White House has to be part of our Washington strategy." She also heard from Trump's daughter Ivanka, one of his top advisers.
Her conversation with Obama, who started his political career in Chicago, was likewise cordial, she told the Tribune. She has spoken out in favor of a community benefits agreement regarding the construction of his presidential library in order to keep residents in the area from being displaced. Obama has opposed a formal agreement, but he and Lightfoot discussed the matter only briefly, she said.
"It was a congratulations call. It wasn't a substantive policy discussion," she said. "Obviously, we both know that's something that is on the table and needs to get resolved so everybody can move forward. I said to him, 'It's really important that we make sure people in the neighborhoods feel like this is a good thing for them,' and he agreed. I don't want to get into the details of the conversation, but I feel confident that we're going to be able to work together well, and we'll be able to move things forward in a way that protects the interests of people in the community."
Lightfoot has also received congratulations from former President Bill Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Reps. Joe Kennedy and David Cicilline -- all Democrats -- and mayors from around the U.S., the Tribune reports.
"I'm hearing from people that probably didn't know my name 10 minutes before their aide said, 'You should call this person, who just did this,'" she told the paper.