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Dem. Rep. Blasts Gingrich: You Didn't Want to Hear About Chicago Violence When You Were Speaker

"Did not want to hear these matters."

Image source: CNN

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) laid into former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Sunday after he criticized him over Chicago's gun violence, charging that Gingrich "did not want to hear" about the violence issue when he was speaker in the 1990s.

Image source: CNN

Gingrich had called Rush out for infamously donning a hoodie sweatshirt during a speech on the House floor last year in a tribute to slain teenager Trayvon Martin.

"You have a congressman who represents the city in which over 500 people were killed last year, 74 percent of them African American," Gingrich said on CNN's "State of the Union. "You have a congressman who represents the city which is 80 percent of the killings, according to police, are by gangs. Gangs have increased by 40 percent since this president was elected. There is no federal program to stop it. No one wants to have an honest conversation about it. And so you have a congressman whose own district is bleeding, who puts on a hoodie as a symbolic act, but he doesn’t do anything about the gangs in his own district.”

Rush countered that Gingrich's charge "doesn't hold water."

“I have been working relentlessly since I’ve been in Congress, even when you were the speaker of the Congress -- of the House and did not want to hear these matters," he said.

Rush went on to say he is "astounded and ashamed" of the violence, but that Chicago "will take care of" itself, starting with a national summit this week on urban violence.

"The Congressional Black Caucus is coming into Chicago so that we can work on solutions to this problem,” Rush said, noting that it had been planned before George Zimmerman's acquittal in Martin's death.

Rush then said he wanted to "challenge" Gingrich and his "Republican cohorts."

“Today is a Sunday. Today is a day of worship. We serve and worship the same God," Rush said. "In Micah 6:3-8, the words tell us that we should love justice, do mercy, and walk humbly with our God. Now, for those folks who are cheering the George Zimmerman verdict, I would challenge you...work together to have the conversation. But not just have the conversation: let us deal with the disenfranchisement, and let us deal with the distortions as it relates to our nation.”

Watch below, via Mediaite:

(H/T: Mediaite)

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