As a guest on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Wednesday evening, Del. Curt Anderson of Baltimore’s 43rd District defended Baltimore from Carlson’s persistent criticism in an impressively grounded debate for the show.
The conservative pundit kicked off the 7-minute segment with his classic light touch: “Few cities embody American urban decay more depressingly than Baltimore does.” He rattled off poverty and murder statistics, and summarized the education system by highlighting out its six worst-performing schools.
He then introduced Anderson, who’s represented his district in Annapolis for 22 combined years in two stints. Given the city’s problems, Carlson asked him whether he thinks voters should consider their regularly elected Democratic leaders with Republicans.
Anderson addressed the loaded question by pointing out the ongoing flight of conservatives to the counties.
“Well, number one, it’s clear that when you have a murder a day in Baltimore City that things are not going the way that we want them to go,” he said. “Democrats, as you say, have been in charge of Baltimore for a long time. I’m not saying that that is going to change anytime soon, because most Republicans have left the city.”
Instead, he preached bipartisanship, saying the dearth of conservative leaders shouldn’t keep Democratic officials from working with Maryland’s Republican governor or President Donald Trump on bolstering resources for, say, police. He tossed out the example of obtaining funds for computers in city police squad cars, a perk available to many law enforcement agencies across the country.
Carlson moved on to the murder rate. He said he knows “a lot of nice people” in Baltimore, but that the killings continue to climb, and drew a line between former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s decision to ban assault-style weapons in Maryland and a climb in the homicide rate for the four years since.
“I’m not saying the ban caused the murders, but it did have the opposite effect,” Carlson asserted.
Anderson said that trend “may be an anomaly, I don’t know,” and said plenty of people are still using guns in the city, with shooters hitting one another and bystanders on a regular basis. He referenced the heartbreaking killing of three-year-old McKenzie Elliott, who was hit by a stray round on her family’s porch in Waverly three summers ago. Allowing more guns, he argued, might not be the answer.
Carlson countered that law-abiding people would be better-equipped to defend themselves with loosened restrictions. The delegate went right to the Bill of Rights, noting that city residents “are allowed to keep guns in their homes just like anybody else in this country. It’s a constitutional right.”
The Fox News host also accused Baltimore politicans of being “too focused on national issues,” alluding to his heated March exchange about immigration policy with Councilman Zeke Cohen (who he invited onto his show to talk about that exact issue).
Anderson called that segment “entertaining,” eliciting a smirk from Carlson, but defended Mayor Catherine Pugh’s and his State House and City Council colleagues’ attention to local matters.
He offered a nuanced analysis of his city, saying it has plenty of great elements – good food, a strong sports culture – as well as its problems, like neighborhoods with highly concentrated violent crime.
“A murder a day, and you don’t think we’re outraged? I wish you guys would come down here and spend a week in Baltimore,” he said. “If you can take the show to London for a terrorist attack, whatever, we’re having a terrorist attack in Baltimore City everyday, and it is something that we cannot tolerate.”
They also touched on the April 2015 unrest, with Carlson criticizing the police response. Anderson pointed out that the city has a consent decree in place to steer the police department in the right direction under court order.
Click here to watch the full interview.
For what it’s worth, Councilman Ryan Dorsey last week declined an invite to to discuss the same issues on Carlson’s show.
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