Donald Trump continued his racist habit of attacking prominent people of color by going after House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings on Twitter on Saturday, while also calling the city of Baltimore a “dangerous” and “filthy place.”
The president’s comments were similar to his rant last year labeling developing nations “shithole countries,” only this time, his ire was directed at a U.S. city and a prominent African American congressman.
Trump called Cummings, who has been outspoken in criticizing the administration’s horrific treatment of asylum-seekers and other migrants at the border, a “brutal bully.” Earlier this month, Cummings unloaded on acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan during a congressional hearing on conditions at border detention facilities.
“What does that mean when a child is sitting in their own feces? Can’t take a shower? Come on man. What’s that about?” Cummings shouted at McAleenan.
In his tweets on Saturday, the president claimed that Cummings’ district, which includes about half of Baltimore, is “FAR WORSE” than conditions at the southern U.S. border, and “more dangerous.”
“Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” Trump tweeted.
As USA Today noted, Cummings’ 7th District in Maryland is 53% black, with an average household income of over $60,000. Trump’s claim that “no human being would want to live there” not only is obviously factually inaccurate, but also vile and racist, and an effort to dehumanize people of color yet again.
The president’s attack is similar to a previous incident in 2017 in which Trump went after civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, calling Lewis’ Georgia district “crime infested.” Those comments were prompted by Lewis’ decision to skip Trump’s presidential inauguration, and his statement that Trump is not a “legitimate president.”
Trump’s latest tirade, as per usual, was prompted by a segment on Fox & Friends, in which Republican strategist Kimberly Klacik visited the district and called it “the most dangerous” in the country.
Klacik was proud that she had prompted the president’s racist outburst, via Fox News. “The President saw my work. This just made my day,” she tweeted.
She also posted this video:
Cummings responded to Trump by noting that it’s his constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the executive branch:
Many other lawmakers, including former Republican Justin Amash, quickly condemned Trump. Rep. Don Beyer, of Northern Virginia, noted that, “If a woman of color serving in Congress talked about American communities the way the President talks about Baltimore or Chicago he would tell her to ‘go back’ to another country.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Cummings “a champion in the Congress and the country for civil rights and economic justice, a beloved leader in Baltimore, and deeply valued colleague.” She added: “We all reject racist attacks against him and support his steadfast leadership.”
Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. also had some poignant thoughts: