• President Trump, on Saturday, verbally attacked Elijah E. Cummings, a Maryland Democrat. In a tweet, Trump disparaged Cummings for not doing enough to fix his "disgusting, rat and rodent infested" district.
• Trump gave no evidence for his claim, but his Saturday's tweet followed a Fox News segment, where a Republican strategist claimed that the conditions in Cummings' district are worse than those at the southern border, notes a report from CNN.
• Cummings, also the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, recently criticized acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan over the conditions at migrant detention centers along the Mexican border. Cummings also recently accused the Trump administration of not complying with the federal law when it comes to keeping communications records.
• Cummings' committee previously instigated several investigations into the Trump administration related to White House practices and Trump's finances, such as Hatch Act violations and security clearances.
• Many see Trump's attack on Cummings as racist. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned Trump's tweets as racist, saying "We all reject racist attacks against him and support his steadfast leadership." As per US census estimates, over 50% of the population in Cummings' district is black.
• On Sunday, Trump even defended his comments, saying they were not racist, and called the congressman a racist.
While Donald Trump has long used Twitter as a vessel for retribution inflicted on those who dare to question and criticize his actions, last weekâ€™s lash out targeted Elijah Cummings was infused with hatred and fueled by racism. Calling Cummingsâ€™ home, the city of Baltimore, â€œdisgusting, rat, and rodent infestedâ€, and resorting to a logically fallacious attempt of discrediting him is just a weak exercise of â€œWhataboutismâ€.
Well, what about Trumpâ€™s delivery? To be fair, crime statistics and other metrics that indicate Baltimoreâ€™s health are less than formidable. The last Census reported that 22.4% of its residents live below the poverty line. Since 2011, over $5.7 million has been paid out by Baltimore in over 100 police brutality lawsuitsâ€”directed mostly to people of color.
The city certainly struggles with a severe racial disparity, and this issue demands attentionâ€”but not in this way. Trumpâ€™s vicious attack is racially charged as it blames Baltimoreâ€™s failures on its constituents, last reported to be 62.8% African American.
A president concerned with our nationâ€™s health would see Baltimore as a part of the United Statesâ€”a nation he is responsible for. He should be working with Cummings and other Baltimore officials to alleviate some of these conditions. Solutions should be put on the table, solutions that the president has the power to initiate. But noâ€”Trumpâ€™s response to being labeled racist was yet another deflection tactic by reversing the insult back onto Cummings. What sort of leadership are we operating under when the leader of the United States points fingers, victim blames a city for its own shortcomings, without considering the bigger context of racial tension that is rampant in Baltimore? That is what makes these Tweets despicable. No person who has an ounce of self-awareness, self-respect, and empathy would seek to add insult to injury by blaming a single representative and the constituents of a largely African American metropolitan area for the disparage and shortcomings that develop as a result of systemic inequity and racism.