House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) condemned President Donald Trump’s Saturday Twitter attack on Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and his majority-black West Baltimore district, deeming it downright racist.
Defending the House Oversight and Reform Committee chair, Pelosi called him “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,” she tweeted.
That morning, Trump derided the congressman as a “brutal bully” whose district is “FAR WORSE and more dangerous” than the conditions Cummings has criticized at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded,” he wrote. “Cumming 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.”
The president’s remarks echo his repeated attacks on Democratic lawmakers of color, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.). In a racist spate of tweets earlier this month, he urged the congresswomen to “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
In 2017, Trump also used the words “crime infested” to describe Rep. John Lewis’ (D-Ga.) district, taking aim at yet another black politician.
Responding to the president’s comments Saturday, Cummings told Trump that he returns to his district daily.
“Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors,” he tweeted. “It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”
Baltimore Mayor Jack Young also spoke out against Trump’s remarks, calling him a “disappointment to the people of Baltimore, our country, and to the world.”
“Mr. Trump’s rhetoric is hurtful and dangerous to the people he’s sworn to represent,” he said in a statement. “As the Mayor of Baltimore, I won’t stand for anyone, not even the alleged Leader of the Free World, attacking our great City or our representative to Congress.”
Cummings has been a prominent critic of the Trump administration, taking a strong stance against the treatment of migrants at the border. In a hearing of his committee last week, Cummings slammed acting Homeland Security chief Kevin McAleenan, expressing outrage over conditions within detention facilities.
“I’m talking about human beings,” he said of migrants. “I’m not talking about people that come from, as the president said, shitholes. These are human beings. Human beings. Just trying to live a better life.”