White House spokesman Josh Earnest said President Obama was "deeply concerned" about the violence in Chicago but acknowledged he did not have any specific policy proposals to address the city’s torrent of gun deaths.
Asked by NBC’s Ron Allen about the tide of gun violence, Earnest touted national violent crime levels being at or near historic lows, while saying certain communities had experienced a "spike."
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"Chicago, unfortunately, is one of those communities," he said. "The president does believe this is something worthy of our attention."
Earnest chastised the media for focusing on mass shootings rather than the day-to-day deaths in cities like Chicago.
"The president is deeply concerned about addressing some of the root causes of violence in those communities," he said.
Earnest also ripped Republicans in Congress for blocking gun control proposals and stressed the importance of local police forces gaining the community’s trust.
"But is there anything specific to Chicago that the president has seen and observed, of these various prescriptions, that he thinks specifically deal with—as you point out, crime is down in many places," Allen said. "It’s spiking in a couple of places, specifically there … When you look at that place, his home town, is there something really more specific that the president thinks should happen like now?"
"Well, I’m not aware of any specific prescription that the president’s prepared to put forward to address the situation just in Chicago," Earnest said. "I know Mayor [Rahm] Emanuel’s quite focused on that, and I certainly would have a lot of confidence in his ability to work through some of these issues and see if there are some specific local solutions that can be implemented."
August marked Chicago’s deadliest month in nearly 20 years at 78 homicides, according to the Chicago Tribune. Over the past weekend, 67 people were shot, 11 of them fatally. One of them was Nykea Aldridge, the cousin of Chicago Bulls star Dwyane Wade.