The president continued calling out to his new favorite city Monday morning, firing off a fresh screed about Rep. Elijah Cummings, crime and past comments on Baltimore by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Today’s tweets included familiar language and stylings from the president’s repertoire, i.e. “Fake News Media,” and “Sad!”, and followed earlier rants Saturday in which he called Cummings a “brutal bully” and his 7th District “a rat and rodent infested mess” where “no one would want to live,” and on Sunday when he referred to Cummings, a civil rights hero and the son of sharecroppers, as a “racist.”
Exhibit A from Monday a.m.:
Trump also referenced a choice quote from Sanders, the longtime U.S. lawmaker from Vermont, from when he told reporters during a presidential campaign stop through West Baltimore in December 2015, “Anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think you’re in a wealthy nation. You would think that you were in a Third World country.”
Trump and a number of right–leaning websites are pointing to Sanders’ prior remarks–which were a commentary on inequality at the time, as opposed to an attack on the area–as a double standard after many criticized Trump as racist this weekend for his initial rant.
Baltimore, a city where just 25,000 of more than 236,000 voters went with Trump at the ballot box in 2016, has responded with expected fiery defensiveness to the president’s unprecedented attack on a beleaguered city.
Elected officials held a rally Saturday afternoon deriding the president’s remarks and defending their home; Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young called Trump “a disappointment to the people of Baltimore, our country, and to the world”; local celebs like David Simon and John Waters offered icy criticism–“see if you have the nerve to say it in person,” Waters offered—and Baltimoreans highlighted the city’s beauty as a contrast to Trump’s words, sharing vibrant images of its parks, neighborhoods and institutions online.
Some prominent local academic and activist voices were quick to counter that Baltimore’s electeds should approach fixing their city’s pressing crime, infrastructure and structural inequity issues with the same vigor they use to defend its image to the outside world.
I don’t care about @realDonaldTrump or his thoughts on my city. I care that a lot of people are more mad about an idiot’s opinion of a city he never comes to than they are passionate about doing what’s necessary to actually make our city better. No politician is coming to save us pic.twitter.com/MHnYRdTei8
— Aaron Maybin (@AaronMMaybin) July 28, 2019
Trump’s now-three-day-long anti-Baltimore binge began when he started mimicking the points of a “Fox and Friends” segment on trash and other municipal problems in sections of Baltimore in Cummings’ district.
The president and Fox News launched their tirade after Cummings, chair of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform, last week pressed Trump’s Homeland Security director about deplorable conditions for children held at the U.S.-Mexico border. The argument from the pundits and president was that Baltimore is actually a worse place to live than migrant detention camps where children are being packed into overcrowded cells.
Cummings had also criticized the president for telling four congresswomen of color to “go back” to where they came from, and answered “no doubt” when asked on-air on ABC’s “This Week” if the president is a racist. Cummings had said the president’s remarks reminded him of taunts he heard as a child in Baltimore, including when he and others were pelted with rocks and bottles while trying to integrate a pool in Riverside in 1962.
The congressman, for his part, responded publicly to Trump by noting he returns home to the 7th District every day. He was spotted at church yesterday in Northwest Baltimore, but didn’t speak on the president’s words any further.
Appearing on WBAL 1090’s “The C4 Show” this morning, Gov. Larry Hogan called Trump’s remarks “outrageous and inappropriate” and renewed his call for politicians in Washington to end the bitter partisan battles.
“I think enough is enough. People are just completely fed up with this kind of nonsense,” he said. “Why aren’t we focused on fixing the problems and getting to work instead of who’s tweeting what and calling each other names?”
Hogan touted his record on Baltimore affairs while in office, saying that since he called in the National Guard during the rioting of the Baltimore Uprising, he’s focused on investing in the city–$5 billion in all, he said. But more federal help is needed to fix Baltimore’s problems.
“We’ve been doing a lot of things, but we sure could use some help from the White House and the Congress.”
He seemed to agree with host Clarence Mitchell IV that the national talk about Trump’s tweets and Baltimore’s woes could provide an opportunity to steer the conversation toward solutions.
“Let’s stop the tweeting, and let’s get to work, as we’re trying to do here in the state and the city.”
Brandon Weigel contributed to this report.