President Trump at a rally in Hershey on Dec. 11; DA Krasner in Philadelphia on Nov. 21

Clarification appended

Keeping with his crusade against the nation’s most progressive law enforcement officials, President Donald Trump blasted Philly’s District Attorney on Tuesday night during his visit to Hershey, Pa.

From his campaign rally in Chocolate Town, Trump called out Larry Krasner without even mentioning his name. No. 45 referred to Philadelphia’s DA as “the worst district attorney, or whatever the hell” — and asked Pennsylvania voters: “How did you let that happen?”

He also lambasted Philly for its sanctuary city status, taking a veiled dig at Mayor Jim Kenney.

The pointed presidential criticisms are unsurprising, given what’s gone down in the past month. Last Friday, John McNesby, president of the city’s Fraternal Order of Police, visited Trump at the White House — and apparently complained thoroughly about Krasner’s less-punitive leadership style.

“The president was following up from a meeting we had in May regarding Krasner and his lack of law enforcement in the city of Philadelphia,” McNesby told Philly talk radio host Dom Giordano after the meeting. “It was very productful.”

On Pennsylvania Avenue, McNesby had company. FOP bosses from cities like Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas and Houston were also in attendance. But Philly’s police union leader complainted that he has it the hardest of all of them.

“They’re all going through a headache,” he told Giordano. “But I could tell you, we lead the pack with the stuff that [Krasner’s] doing. It’s just totally unimaginable.”

Krasner: ‘I am honored’ by Trump’s attacks

In general, all of this is extremely On Brand for our POTUS. Trump has has spoken out countless times against progressive district attorneys, calling them a “dangerous trend” because they don’t prosecute “many criminals who pose a severe threat to public safety.”

From 2016 to 2019, Philly’s prison population has dropped 33% under Krasner’s leadership — with no corresponding uptick in crime.

Trump’s justice department, too, has continuously come out swinging against Krasner. Attorney General Bill Barr condemned prosecutors “that style themselves as ‘social justice reformers.’”

The bad blood is evident further down the rung of leadership, in U.S. Attorney William McSwain, who presides over the Eastern District and constantly battles Krasner.

Over the summer, McSwain blamed Krasner for a police shootout that gripped North Philadelphia for hours — saying the district attorney contributed to growing “disrespect” toward law enforcement officers.

The federal litigator also launched a civil suit against overdose prevention sites earlier this year — a proposed solution to the opioid epidemic onto which Krasner has cosigned.

When the court ruled the nonprofit Safehouse wouldn’t violate federal law if it opened one, McSwain vowed to close it anyway if it comes to fruition.

FWIW, Krasner doesn’t seem bothered by much of this.

He told the Inquirer last week: “I am honored once again to be attacked by President Trump, the most criminal U.S. president of my lifetime, and to hear it from one of his local megaphones, John McNesby. As usual in Trumpworld, the attacks are fact-free. Sorry, guys. History is not on your side.”

“He’s standing somewhere in the middle of Pennsylvania with a typical group of supporters and he is blowing a dog whistle,” Krasner added at a news conference on Wednesday. “He is rallying rural sections of the state to despise everything that Philadelphia is — a city of immigrants, a city that is very diverse, and a city that rejected him by 85% of the vote last time he ran. He’s doing so because he is afraid. He’s doing so because he is politically weak.”

Michaela Winberg is a general assignment reporter at Billy Penn. She covers LGBTQ people and culture, public spaces, and transportation and mobility. She also sometimes produces radio and web features...