President Donald Trump has been called a “racist” for several days now over his comments regarding the cleanliness and safety of Baltimore, Maryland.
Trump this weekend tweeted that the city — which is in Rep. Elijah Cummings’ (D-MD) district — is “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” and a “very dangerous and filthy place."
Media outlets rushed to defend the city and label Trump a “racist” for allegedly using “dog whistles” — since Baltimore is a majority African-American city.
In reality, Trump verbally attacks cities and states where he has a real or imagined issue. As Republican political strategist Andrew Surabian pointed out on Twitter, Trump also called the entire state of New Hampshire “a drug-infested den” while discussing the state’s opioid problem with Mexican President Pena Nieto.
TIME Magazine reported at the time that Trump’s comments were revealed in a transcript of a phone call with the president of Mexico on January 27.
“They are sending drugs to Chicago, Los Angeles, and to New York. Up in New Hampshire — I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den — is coming from the southern border,” Trump told Nieto on the call.
The claim that Trump reserves words like “infested” for black cities is negated by his use of the term for New Hampshire. The Granite State’s population is 93.9% white, according to the last census, and just 1.1% black. Baltimore is 62.9% black and whites make up 30.26% of the population.
Trump’s original tweets regarding Cummings’ district were tied to the congressman’s criticism of Border Patrol and conditions along the southern U.S. border with Mexico.
“Rep. Elijah Cummings has been 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," Trump tweeted. "His district is considered the Worst in the USA. As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded. Cumming[s'] 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."
The Daily Wire’s James Barrett reported Monday that Trump is now asking why Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wasn’t called a racist when he likened Baltimore’s poverty to the “Third World.”
The Wire’s Ryan Saavedra reported Sunday that Baltimore’s former mayor Catherine Pugh used colorful language to describe a section of the city during a tour.
"What the hell? We should just take all this sh*t down. ... Whoa, you can smell the rats. ... Whew, Jesus. ... Oh, my God, you can smell the dead animals,” the former mayor said.
Meanwhile, media personalities like CNN’s Victor Blackwell claimed the reference to an “infestation” was not relating to rats but actually minorities.
Yet PBS aired a documentary last year called “Rat Film,” which the Wire’s Amanda Prestigiacomo reported was about the city’s rat infestation problem.
The pest-control company Orkin also listed Baltimore as one of America’s “Rattiest Cities.”