CHICAGO (WLS) -- During a meeting with law enforcement at the White House, President Donald Trump compared Chicago violence to war-torn Middle East.
This is the latest of several Trump shout-outs to Chicago violence, including a tweet that he would send in "the feds."
"It's worse than some of the places we read about in the Middle East where we have wars going on. It's so sad. Chicago has become so sad a situation," Trump said.
In response, Chicago activists said they invite Trump to visit their neighborhood and others are calling for action in addressing violence and poverty in the city.
"Chicago is the epicenter of violence and where you're sitting at right now is ground zero," said activist Rev. Ira Acree during a previously scheduled news conference about gun violence in the city's Austin neighborhood.
Acree said he's not offended by Trump comparing his community to a war zone.
"Instead of focusing so much energy on rhetoric about Chicago, the people of this city would be better off if the president would finally partner with us to improve public safety for Chicago," said Matt McGrath, a spokesman for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Last month, 310 people were shot and 59 killed -- and 49 of the homicide victims so far this year were African American.
"We got something going here that is a state of emergency. It demands action right now," said Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (D-1st District).
But the activists were skeptical about what the president would do to address the issue:
"He needs to stop tweeting about it and be about it," said business owner Charmaine Rickett.
And they urged Trump to come see Chicago's crime-ridden neighborhoods for himself and to send federal aid to rebuild them.
"Chicago should be a model for development and not a foil," said Rev. Jesse Jackson, of the Rainbow-PUSH Coalition.
All the politicians who attended the news conference were Democrats who would not criticize Barack Obama -- the first black president -- for his inability to reduce the violence.
They expect more from Republican Trump.
"We're just asking that Donald Trump use the privilege -- and you read between the lines -- that President Obama did not have. Use that and work for the people," Acree said.
In a statement, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said: "Our men and women are working hard to improve public safety, and we stand ready for an increased federal partnership to build upon our work. As I've said before, we are asking for more federal agents and resources. We are asking for a higher rate of federal gun prosecution. We are asking for more funding for after-school and summer jobs programs that are proven to keep kids out of trouble." null
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