“Mr. Trump, you are a disappointment to the people of Baltimore, our country, and to the world,” said Baltimore’s mayor today, according to The Hill, following Trump’s Twitter attacks, which some have described as racist, on House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and the city of Baltimore. A slew of lawmakers, commentators, and the Maryland chapter of the NAACP have all condemned Trump’s remarks. CNN political commentator David Axelrod went further in his criticism, tweeting, “If @realDonaldTrump loses in 2020, this will be why. Every, single day, he subjects the country he was elected to lead to a stream of ugly, divisive bombast. It’s exhausting. It’s destructive. It’s unworthy of a POTUS. And it would only get worse. Four more years? Of THIS?”
President Trump railed against Cummings and Baltimore in much the same way as he recently railed against four progressive Democratic congresswomen by calling Cummings district, which includes part of Baltimore, a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and saying that Cummings should spend more time there. Never mind that Baltimore is also part of the United States and therefore the president should be acting on its behalf – Trump, who always acts like a candidate rather than a president, doesn’t care if he insults a district that votes decidedly blue. Trump unleashed this vitriol for both a specific and a general reason. The specific reason is that Cummings excoriated Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan at a July 18 congressional hearing over border conditions, which is why Trump also attempted to state that conditions in Baltimore are worse than those at the border. The general reason is that Trump sees Cummings as one of his biggest enemies, since Cummings, as the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is involved in multiple investigations of Trump and the Trump administration. Trump was also parroting commentary he had heard on, you guessed it, Fox News, saying that Cummings district was in worse shape than the border, which aired about an hour before Trump started his Twitter rant. According to CNN:
President Donald Trump attacked another prominent African American lawmaker on Saturday, tweeting that his Baltimore district is a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” Trump’s morning tirade against Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is the latest verbal assault against a minority member of Congress who is a frequent critic of the President. …Reaction to Trump’s tirade was swift… House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — whose father represented the city in Congress, and, along with her brother, served as its mayor — echoed those sentiments (of Baltimore’s mayor), condemning Trump’s tweets as racist. “.@RepCummings is a champion in the Congress and the country for civil rights and economic justice, a beloved leader in Baltimore, and deeply valued colleague. We all reject racist attacks against him and support his steadfast leadership. #ElijahCummingsIsAPatriot,” Pelosi, who was born in Baltimore, tweeted.
Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in a statement he posted on Twitter where he dinged Trump as the “alleged Leader of the Free World” also wrote “It’s completely unacceptable for the political leader of our country to denigrate a vibrant American City like Baltimore, and to viciously attack U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings a patriot and a hero.”
Cummings himself responded to Trump’s attacks by posting, “Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. 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.” Somehow, it seems a safe bet that Trump has no concept what “moral duty” would be and Trump has shown that he completely disrespects and attempts to stonewall and circumvent the constitutional duties of Congress. CNN commentator David Axelrod, as quoted above, thinks these tirades from Trump hurt his reelection chances. Trump clearly believes the opposite. The 2020 election will show who is right on that point.