Duckworth To Trump: Fight Crime With Funding For Economic Development

CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth said if President Donald Trump is serious about helping Chicago deal with violent crime, he’ll focus on investments in impoverished neighborhoods.

Trump repeatedly has called out Chicago for the rising number of shootings and murders over the past year, and at one point, in a Twitter post, threatened to “send in the feds” if the city doesn’t get a handle on violent crime.

At an unrelated event in Chicago on Monday, Duckworth said if the president truly wants to help reduce gun violence in Chicago, he should put more federal funding into economic development in the most troubled neighborhoods.

“When you have 50 percent unemployment among young black men on the South Side of Chicago, you have now created the conditions for economic inequality and economic hopelessness, so that folks become that much more vulnerable to elements of crime, to the elements of drugs,” she said.

The senator said she wants Trump to define his threat to “send in the feds” to mean more federal money for Chicago’s anti-violence efforts, and not something like deploying the National Guard.

“The message I’m going to bring back to the administration is if they truly want to help Chicago, then they need to make these investments in the economic opportunity, in the economic viability in the city, across this entire city,” Duckworth said.

Duckworth also said she would work with Trump on improving the nation’s transportation system “if he comes forward with a decent infrastructure package.”

The president has vowed to spend $1 trillion to rebuild roads, bridges, and airports, but has released few details of his infrastructure plan.

“I will work to make sure as much of that money can get back to Illinois as possible,” Duckworth said.

Duckworth admitted she has not heard details from Trump about infrastructure plans, but she said she’s had encouraging talks with Transportation Secretary Elain Chao and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

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