In a viral video that has caught the attention of not only online viewers but city officials and several media outlets, Democratic Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh exclaimed while touring one of the many decrepit neighborhoods in her city that “you can smell the rats.”
In a segment that aired on Fox 45 earlier this week, the mayor and other city officials tour some areas impacted by Pugh’s 2017 violence-reduction initiative, the Baltimore Sun reports. While walking through an area filled with decrepit, vacant homes, the scene overwhelms Pugh.
“What the hell? We should just take all this [expletive] down,” she says. “Whoa, you can smell the rats. Whew, Jesus. Oh, my God, you can smell the dead animals.”
The Instagram account “The Shade Room” posted a clip of the raw moment; the video has since racked up over a million views:
Mayor Pugh told the Baltimore Sun via a spokesperson that the reason crime and violence has escalated in such communities is neglect and underinvestment.
“I walk the neighborhoods of our city regularly with my agency and department leaders, along with our police district commanders, to deal firsthand with the issues that undermine quality of life and rob our children of the future they deserve,” said Pugh.
Responses online were mixed, some praising Pugh for being honest, while others raised the larger issue of how elected officials plan to address the problems plaguing Baltimore. A few examples (emojis removed, most of which were crying faces and skulls):