Fox News host presses WH chief of staff over 'racial stereotyping' in Trump tweets

Kadia Tubman
Reporter
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, left, and Fox News host Chris Wallace. (Photos: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images; Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

Fox News host Chris Wallace grilled acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney Sunday about President Trump’s recent attacks against African-American, Hispanic and Islamic officeholders who have criticized the administration’s border policies — most recently, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.

“Nobody objects to the president defending his border policies but this seems, Mick, to be the worst kind of racial stereotyping,” Wallace said. “Black congressman, majority-black district. ‘No human being would want to live there.’ Is he saying that people in Baltimore are not human beings?”

Trump on Saturday morning attacked Cummings, saying he failed his district, shortly after a Fox News segment showed piles of trash in Baltimore. Cummings, a vocal Trump critic who chairs the House Oversight Committee, has over the last two weeks both authorized subpoenas for senior White House staffers’ communications and ripped into acting Homeland Security chief Kevin McAleenan over the conditions of the government camps for migrants at the southern border.

Trump called Cummings “a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous.”

“His district is considered the Worst in the USA,” he added. “Cumming [sic] District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place.”

According to Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, Cummings’s Seventh District, which he has represented since 1996 and is over 50 percent African-American, has the second-highest average income of any majority-black district in the country.

“It has absolutely zero to do with race,” Mulvaney said about Trump’s comments, while referring to economic and social issues in cities such as Baltimore, Chicago and San Francisco.

But Wallace argued, “There is a clear pattern here.”

The Fox News host pointed out to Mulvaney that this isn’t the first time Trump has attacked a black congressman over the “horrible” and “crime infested” conditions in his district. Before his inauguration, he denounced Rep. John Lewis, whose Georgia district includes much of Atlanta, which is majority-black.

Wallace then referred to Trump’s previous attacks against four Democratic congresswomen of color (Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib). Trump recently tweeted that they should “go back” to the “crime infested places from which they came.”

“I think you’re spending way too much time reading between the lines,” Mulvaney said.

“I’m not reading between the lines,” Wallace countered. “I’m reading the lines.”

Trump continued to lash out against Cummings on Sunday, tweeting, “The Democrats always play the Race Card, when in fact they have done so little for our Nation’s great African American people.”

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