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Trump: Critic's district is 'disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess'

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) leads a meeting on April 2. Credit: AP / J. Scott Applewhite

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Saturday disparaged Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings and his majority-black district in Baltimore, calling it a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” in another attack on a minority lawmaker.

Trump’s tweets drew criticism for his “racist attacks” and rhetoric by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and others, and they came less than two weeks after the Democratic-led House voted to condemn his racist comments about four minority women representatives.

Trump posted a series of three tweets aimed at Cummings — calling his district “the worst run and most dangerous” — after "Fox & Friends" aired a story early Saturday unfavorably comparing conditions in his Baltimore district with those at the southwestern border.

Trump also accused Cummings of being a “brutal bully" for “shouting and screaming” at Border Patrol officials, an apparent reference to the congressman's lecture at a July 18 hearing to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan about the conditions of detained children.

The attack also comes after Cummings, who chairs the House Oversight and Reform Committee, led his panel’s Democratic majority on Thursday to authorize subpoenas for personal emails used for official business by Trump’s daughter Ivanka, her husband, Jared Kushner, and other top White House aides.

“Rep, [sic] 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. His district is considered the Worst in the USA......,” Trump tweeted.

“ … As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded. Cumming [sic] 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,” he continued.

“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? Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!” Trump concluded.

Cummings tweeted back: “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.”

And Pelosi, whose father, Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., and brother Thomas D’Alesandro III served as mayors of Baltimore, tweeted: “@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 again.”

Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young also pushed back, tweeting, “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' district includes about half of Baltimore, and extends into Baltimore and Howard counties. A little more than half of his constituents are black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2018, Baltimore had the third-highest murder rate and the fifth-highest violent crime rate, according to an analysis of FBI statistics.

Trump launched a similar attack on Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) in January 2017 after the congressman questioned the legitimacy of Trump’s election, depicting Lewis’ district as “falling apart” and “crime infested.”

More recently, Trump called for four Democratic congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” though three of the women were American born, and the fourth is a naturalized American citizen.

He has not stopped vilifying the four: Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

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