As President Trump continues to show amusement rather than concern at the poverty and crime facing Baltimore and to impugn the leadership in majority-black communities while not mentioning similar problems faced in majority-white communities, the Baltimore Sun’s editorial board has further dropped its filter in lambasting Trump. After already blasting Baltimore using terms many see as racist tropes and going after House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), whose district includes part of Baltimore, Trump further escalated his rhetoric by making fun of Baltimore at a campaign rally Thursday night, smiling and claiming without substantiating his facts that Baltimore has a higher murder rate than El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, or Afghanistan, leading to actual cheers from his audience – smiles, laughter and cheers over a high murder rate.
Then Trump appeared to enjoy finding out that Cummings’ had a break-in at his home last week; Trump would later claim he was not being a “wise guy” in tweeting, “Really bad news! The Baltimore house of Elijah Cummings was robbed. Too bad!” Many see Trump’s tweet, however, as his taking delight in Cummings home being burglarized, with Trump thinking it proved his point that Baltimore is a dangerous place. Has it crossed anyone’s mind that Trump’s earlier barrage against Baltimore and Cummings may have encouraged someone to break into Cummings house? Trump doesn’t seem to get that Baltimore is part of the United States, that he is supposed to be helping the city, not trying to profit politically by highlighting its problems, while not mentioning that many other communities, including many in red states, suffer the same problems. Again and again Trump appears to think it worthwhile politically to make crime and poverty seem as if they are exclusive to minority communities, when they are not.
And so it is that the Baltimore Sun’s editorial board followed up on their very powerful previous editorial, “Better to Have a Few Rats than to Be One“, in which they likened Trump to a rat, with a new and even more scathing editorial, “The Pitiful Day a U.S. President Used a Political Rally to Mock Baltimore’s Homicide Rate“, in which they describe Trump as “a jerk, a clod, a dolt” who so “lacks human empathy” that psychiatrists, they assert, would say Trump has antisocial personality disorder. According to The Baltimore Sun’s editorial:
Slightly more than 15 minutes into his speech at a rally in Cincinnati Thursday night… President Donald Trump set his sights once again upon Baltimore. Basking in the crowd’s adulation, he started listing the dangerous countries where the murder rate was, he believed, not as bad as Charm City’s. El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala. …“I believe it’s higher than Afghanistan.” The crowd took it all in appreciatively, smiling, some cheering. They laughed when their leader joked how fact-checkers might contradict him Friday. Like Mr. Trump, they appeared wholly indifferent to people dying in Baltimore. …This newspaper got some attention six days ago – when Mr. Trump first launched his attacks on Charm City – for describing this president’s shortcomings in unfiltered, unequivocal terms. But that missed an important point that was so vividly on display Thursday: He lacks human empathy. Psychiatry has a name for that condition. It’s called antisocial personality disorder. …This is the behavior of a jerk, a clod, a dolt, a schmuck.
Donald Trump is motivated, perhaps exclusively, by self-interest. He has no underlying sense of values, no guiding principles except self-serving ones, designed at self-promotion, self-aggrandizement, and the accumulation of material wealth. He likes anyone who praises them, even if the person doing the praising is a ruthless dictator robbing his people of basic human rights, and he hates anyone who criticizes him, no matter if that person has a long track record of fighting for civil rights and for their constituents, the way Elijah Cummings has. Trump sees Cummings as a threat, because Cummings chairs the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which means Cummings is in the lead of multiple investigations of Trump. And Trump, clearly, thinks his base will accept his verbally attacking people of color, verbally attacking communities with non-white majorities, which so far seems to be true. We know what’s wrong with Trump. What is wrong with his followers? What is wrong with these people who cheered him on when he claimed with a smile that Baltimore has a higher murder rate than El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Afghanistan?