Trump Attacks Another Minority Member Of Congress With Racist Tropes
The President unleashed another racist attack, this time on Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings.
President Trump unloaded an attack against Congressman Elijah Cummings, who represents Maryland’s 7th Congressional District and is the current Chairman of the House And Reform Oversight Committee that has echos of his racist attacks on Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and three other minority Congresswomen:
WASHINGTON — President Trump lashed out at a leading African-American congressman on Saturday, calling him “a brutal bully” and denouncing his Baltimore-based district as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”
Mr. Trump singled out Representative Elijah E. Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland and chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee who has been a leading critic of the president. Only two days ago, Mr. Cummings was authorized by his committee to subpoena work-related text and emails on personal accounts by White House officials, including Mr. Trump’s daughter and son-in-law.
Mr. Trump did not mention that in his string of Twitter messages on Saturday, but instead suggested that Mr. Cummings was unfairly attacking Border Patrol agents. Beyond denouncing Mr. Cummings’s majority-black district as a rat-infested mess, he also made a vague charge of corruption by suggesting federal money sent there “is stolen” and demanding an investigation, without offering proof or elaborating on what he meant.
“Rep, 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,” Mr. Trump wrote. “His district is considered the Worst in the USA.” He went on: “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.”
Mr. Trump’s blasts could revive the debate about his attacks on four first-term Democratic congresswomen of color, whom he angrily declared should “go back” to their home countries, even though three of them were born in the United States and the fourth is also an American citizen.
His use of racist tropes generated enormous anger on the part of Democrats and some Republicans, leading the House to pass a resolution, largely along party lines, condemning his remarks.
In his Twitter storm on Saturday, the president did not explain one of his most explosive charges, that federal taxpayer money was somehow being stolen, nor did he detail what involvement he was suggesting on Mr. Cummings’s part.
“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,” he wrote. “No human being would want to live there. Where is all this money going? How much is stolen? Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!”
Here are the President’s tweets:
It didn’t take long for Cummings to respond:
Trump’s attacks on Cummings didn’t just come out of the blue. Instead, they appear to be related to the fact that Cummings’ committee has voted to authorize subpoenas directed at a number of people connected to the President both inside and outside the White House, including the President’s daughter and son-in-law. Additionally, as Matthew Gertz noted on Twitter, Trump’s attack came not long after a segment on Fox & Friends that made the allegations against Cummings that were repeated in Trump’s tweets.
For what it’s worth, it is true that the crime rate in Baltimore is high, but that’s hardly Cummings’ fault since he doesn’t run the City of Baltimore. Additionally, even with those problems, Cummings’ district is among the most prosperous majority-minority districts in the country, that Cummungs has managed to win re-election to Congress by wide margins over the years, and that, contrary to Trump’s claims, Cummings spends a considerable amount of time in the district, which is only 40 minutes away from downtown Washington, when not busy with his duties as a Member of Congress.
Nate Silver pointed this out in tweets this morning:
In other words, this is yet another example, of the President blindly lashing out at a perceived enemy with racist tropes that are not based in fact at all.
For example, shortly before he became President Trump launched similar attacks against Congressman John Lewis, the Civil Rights Movement veteran who represents Georgia’s 5th Congressional District. As with Cummings, Trump attacked Lewis with racist tropes contending that his district is “crime infested” and run-down. (You can see Trump’s Twitter attacks on Lewis here, here, here) This came in response to a pre-inauguration comment by Lewis in which the Congressman, who did not attend Trump’s Inauguration, said that he did not consider Trump to be a legitimate President.
Not surprisingly, several of the Democratic candidates for President attacked Trump for his attack on Cummings, as did CNN anchor Victor Blackwell, who was born in Cummings’ district:
As with his attacks on Lewis and “the squad” there doesn’t seem to be any rational explanation for the President’s behavior here other than yet another example of how he resorts to racism and racist tropes whenever it suits him and does so with ease. There really is no other way to explain it.