President Trump has come under intense fire from Democrats and sympathetic media members over his blistering critique of what he portrayed as Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings’ neglect of Baltimore, which the president described as a crime-ridden, “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” The comments, his critics say, are yet another example of his “racist” “dog-whistle” rhetoric. As usual, Trump has responded to the outrage by doubling down — and using the attacks as a way to generate some friendly fire among his political opponents.
“Crazy Bernie Sanders recently equated the City of Baltimore to a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY!” Trump tweeted Monday morning. “Based on that statement, I assume that Bernie must now be labeled a Racist, just as a Republican would if he used that term and standard!”
“The fact is, Baltimore can be brought back, maybe even to new heights of success and glory, but not with King Elijah and that crew,” Trump added. “When the leaders of Baltimore want to see the City rise again, I am in a very beautiful oval shaped office waiting for your call!”
Trump’s “third world” comment is a reference to a statement Sanders made to reporters after walking through Baltimore in December 2015.
“Hoping to reach African-American voters nationally in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday toured the West Baltimore neighborhood where Freddie Gray was arrested — and likened the poverty he observed to that of the Third World,” The Baltimore Sun reported.
After about 20 minutes walking through the streets of Sandtown-Winchester “joined by community leaders and a swarm of cameras,” Sanders painted a grim picture of the city, which was recently rated among the nation’s “Rattiest Cities” according to pest control company Orkin.
“Anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think you’re in a wealthy nation,” Sanders told reporters. “You would think that you were in a Third World country.”
“[T]oday what we’re talking about is a community in which half of the people don’t have jobs,” said Sanders. “We’re talking about a community in which there are hundreds of buildings that are uninhabitable.”
The Baltimore controversy started this weekend when Trump tweeted out a series of posts blasting Rep. Cummings and the state of the city he’s charged with representing.
“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 Saturday. “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.”
“Why is so much money sent to the Elijah Cummings district when it is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States. No human being would want to live there. Where is all this money going? How much is stolen?” he added. “Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!”
As the blowback intensified, Trump continued to hammer Cummings. “Elijah Cummings spends all of his time trying to hurt innocent people through ‘Oversight.’ He does NOTHING for his very poor, very dangerous and very badly run district!” he tweeted later, including video showing the dilapidated state of the city.
“So sad that Elijah Cummings has been able to do so little for the people of Baltimore,” he added in another tweet. “Statistically, Baltimore ranks last in almost every major category. Cummings has done nothing but milk Baltimore dry, but the public is getting wise to the bad job that he is doing!”