Newt Gingrich Accuses Rep. Bobby Rush of Ignoring Chicago Gang Violence

The former House speaker also slammed the congressman for wearing a hoodie on the House floor to talk about Trayvon Martin.

Posted: 07/22/2013 11:05 AM EDT

To some people, hooded sweatshirts have come to symbolize urban violence or serve as a trigger to racially profile someone. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Illinois) was famously removed from the House floor last year for donning a hoodie during a speech about the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in which he said that wearing a hoodie doesn't make a person a hoodlum.

Former House speaker and Republican presidential nominee Newt Gingrich took the lawmaker to task for the incident on CNN's State of the Union this week. He also accused Rush of not addressing the violence that has been overwhelming Chicago.

"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," Gingrich said.

Rush said the assertion was baseless and said that as speaker of the House urban violence was an issue Gingrich ignored.

"That's a charge, Newt, that doesn't hold water," the Illinois congressman said. "I have been working relentlessly since I've been in Congress, even when you were the speaker of the House and didn't want to hear these matters."

Rush, a former Black Panther, also noted that the Congressional Black Caucus is hosting a national summit on urban violence in Chicago this week.

"Chicago will take care of this violence," Rush said. "The [CBC] is coming into Chicago so that we can work on solutions to this problem."

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(Photo: Candy Croelwy via State of the Union/CNN)

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