- Kimberly White/Getty Images for MoveO
- President Donald Trump has received widespread criticism for attacking Representative Elijah Cummings and the city of Baltimore in a series of tweets on Saturday that called the city “dangerous,” “disgusting,” and “rat and rodent infested.”
- The Trump 2020 re-election campaign Twitter account, “@TrumpWarRoom,” tweeted a clip of Democratic presidential nominee Bernie Sanders comparing Baltimore to a Third World country in 2015, after touring the neighborhood where Freddie Gray was arrested.
- Trump’s campaign apparently seeks to equate the two candidates’ feelings toward the city of Baltimore, but many Baltimore residents – including the editorial board of The Baltimore Sun – found the president’s remarks bigoted, whereas Sanders’ were received as drawing attention to poverty and class differences in the US.
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As President Donald Trump and his team face backlash over a series of tweets attacking Representative Elijah Cummings and his district of Baltimore, which the president called “dangerous,” “disgusting,” and “rat and rodent infested,” Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign dug up a clip of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders comparing Baltimore to a Third World county.
The clip was taken during a 2015 press conference Sanders gave in Baltimore after touring the neighborhood where Freddie Grey, whose death in police custody sparked riots, was arrested. At the time, The Baltimore Sun’s coverage of Sanders’ conference focused less on his remarks, which aligned with his campaign’s consistent focus on wealth inequality and poverty in marginalized communities, and more on his reticence to answer questions about ISIS.
Bernie Sanders visited Rep. Elijah Cummings district in 2015. He was shocked by what he saw.
"You would think that you were in a third world country," Sanders said. "We're talking about a community in which there are hundreds of buildings that are uninhabitable." pic.twitter.com/nqlCJS34RM
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) July 28, 2019
“But anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think you were in a wealthy nation, you would think that you were in a Third World country,” Sanders says in the clip from the press conference.
“But today what we’re talking about is a community in which half of the people don’t have jobs. We’re talking about a community in which there are hundreds of buildings that are uninhabitable. We’re talking about a community where kids are unable to go to schools that are decent.”
In comparison, Trump’s tweets were met with a wave of outrage and condemnation from residents within Baltimore, including the same newspaper that covered Sanders’ conference, which issued a harsh editorial statement that called the president’s remarks bigoted – and referred to him, in a roundabout way, as a rodent.
The difference between the responses is likely due to many factors, one of which is that Sanders, while comparing Baltimore to a Third World country, did so after visiting residents and discussing problems with them. As Washington Post politics reporter Dave Weigel tweeted, Sanders drew attention to the poverty within the neighborhood without blaming residents or a singular elected representative, like Trump did.
I, too, cannot tell the difference between a candidate drawing attention to poverty and a president writing off an entire city because the congressman made him angry. pic.twitter.com/FauIfiqCAP
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) July 28, 2019
Trump’s significantly more harsh commentary also followed last week’s Twitter controversy, in which he issued racist statements about freshman congresswomen of color, telling them to “go back” to their countries. Three out of four of the congresswomen were born in the US, and the rhetoric the president utilized was immediately deemed racist, including by major news organizations.
The president has continued to tweet about Baltimore and Cummings, most recently tweeting that his attack on both was not racist, because Cummings has failed to “focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district.”
- Read more:
- Trump attacks Rep. Elijah Cummings and Baltimore, seemingly quoting ‘Fox & Friends’ segment: ‘No human being would want to live there’
- Trump doubled down on his attacks against Baltimore and Cummings, claiming critics are playing the ‘race card’
- ‘Better to have a few rats than to be one’: The Baltimore Sun’s editorial board rails against Trump in a scathing column
- Jared Kushner’s troubled Baltimore housing projects could be the ‘disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess’ Trump tweeted about