Trump doubles down on Cummings attacks, shares vulgar comment about Baltimore on Twitter

Kadia Tubman
Reporter

President Trump doubled down on his attacks against House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, whose district he called a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” by retweeting a comment from a British columnist who referred to Baltimore as a “proper sh*thole.”

“Trump: Baltimore is a violent place. (Highest homicide rate in USA / @BaltimorePolice civilian employee assaulted in street/ proper sh*thole),” right-wing commentator Katie Hopkins tweeted Sunday, repeating a phrase Trump used in January 2018 when he referred to Haiti and African nations as “s***hole” countries in an Oval Office meeting about U.S. immigration policy.

President Trump and Rep. Elijah Cummings. (Photos: Alex Wong/Getty Images; Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

Trump retweeted Hopkins’s comment along with a video of a 59-year-old civilian employee of the Baltimore Police Department being violently attacked last week by three teens on scooters.

Over the weekend, Trump launched a series of attacks against Rep. Cummings, D-Md., and his Seventh District, which is over 50 percent African-American, has the second-highest average income of any majority-black district in the country and covers parts of downtown Baltimore, which ranked second for large cities with a high violent crime rate in 2017.

Trump on Saturday called Cummings “a brutal bully” and declared “his district is considered the Worst in the USA.”

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

On Sunday, Trump continued his attacks amid backlash that condemned his comments as racist.

“Congressman Elijah Cummings has done a very poor job for his district and the City of Baltimore,” he tweeted. “The Democrats always play the Race Card, when in fact they have done so little for our Nation’s great African American people. Now, lowest unemployment in U.S. history, and only getting better. Elijah Cummings has failed badly!”

Trump’s allies defended the president against criticism that his comments were racist.

“It has absolutely zero to do with race,” acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told Fox News host Chris Wallace, who described Trump’s comments as “the worst kind of racial stereotyping.”

“There is a clear pattern here,” Wallace said Sunday, pointing 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 said they should “go back” to the “crime infested places from which they came.” (All of the lawmakers are U.S. citizens and only one, Omar, was born in another country.)

Trump followed up his retweet of the recorded brutal attack in Baltimore with more criticism of Cummings, who 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.

“There is nothing racist in stating plainly what most people already know, that Elijah Cummings has done a terrible job for the people of his district, and of Baltimore itself,” Trump wrote. “Dems always play the race card when they are unable to win with facts. Shame!”

He continued: “If racist Elijah Cummings would focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district, and Baltimore itself, perhaps progress could be made in fixing the mess that he has helped to create over many years of incompetent leadership. His radical ‘oversight’ is a joke!”

Cummings responded to Trump’s original criticisms Saturday but has since not engaged in a war of words similar to the public feud that began after the president said four congresswomen of color should “go back” to the “crime infested places from which they came.”

“Mr. President, I go home to my district daily,” Cummings tweeted. “Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors. It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”

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