CHICAGO -- President Donald Trump on Thursday again publicly invoked Chicago violence before a national audience, this time speaking of "two Chicagos" during a wide-ranging news conference in the White House's East Room.
Near the end of the roughly 80-minute event, Trump responded to a reporter's question about his urban agenda.
"We have places in this country that we have to fix. We have to help African-American people who, for the most part, are stuck there. We have to help Hispanic-American people. We have Hispanic-American people that are in the inner cities. And they're living in hell.
"I mean, you look at the numbers in Chicago. There are two Chicagos, as you know," he said. "There's one Chicago that's incredible, luxurious and all, and safe. There's another Chicago that's worse than almost any of the places in the Middle East that we talk about, and that you talk about every night on the newscast."
Trump concluded by saying he had "great people lined up" to help with his urban agenda.
Asked about Trump's remarks during an event at the Chicago police academy, Mayor Rahm Emanuel focused only on the part of the president's statement that complimented the city. The mayor went on to say that he had made a request for more resources to address the crime problem directly to senior members of Trump's administration at meetings earlier this week.
The real estate mogul and reality-TV-star-turned-president has repeatedly commented on gun violence in Chicago. Late last month, he tweeted, "I will send in the Feds!" in a post that also quoted data on Chicago shootings published by the Chicago Tribune. The comment left local law enforcement and elected leaders scratching their heads, unsure what the president meant.
Thursday's news conference was called to announce his choice of former federal prosecutor Alexander Acosta as his nominee to be labor secretary. But the president quickly launched into criticism of the news media, pushing back against suggestions of improper contact between his campaign team and Russian officials prior to his election.
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