Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) sparred Sunday over their commitment to ending gang violence and Rush's choice to wear a hooded sweatshirt on the House floor in honor of Trayvon Martin.
The two appeared on CNN's "State of the Union," where Gingrich accused Rush of ignoring gang-related killings in Chicago, the city Rush represents, even as he wore a hoodie to mark Martin's death last year.
Rush said Gingrich's charge "doesn't hold water," and that the former Speaker didn't confront the issue of violence during his time in House leadership.
“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 said.
The Illinois Democrat pointed out that members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) will hold a summit on urban violence this month in Chicago.
"The [CBC] is coming into Chicago so that we can work on solutions to this problem," Rush said.
Rush, a former Black Panther, was removed from the House floor in March 2012 for wearing a hoodie as he spoke about Martin's killing. The presiding GOP officer cited House rules prohibiting hats in the chamber.
Hooded sweatshirts have become a symbol for Martin, the 17-year-old Florida teenager killed by George Zimmerman last year. Zimmerman was recently acquitted in the case.