Trump calls Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings 'racist' after branding his district as 'infested'

President calls senior Democratic congressman of colour a 'racist' after attacking him with tweets largely seen as racist

Chris Riotta
New York
Sunday 28 July 2019 20:25
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'When he tweets about infestation, it's about black and brown people' CNN anchor gets upset over Trump's latest Tweets

Donald Trump called Elijah Cummings a “racist” on Sunday after describing the senior Democratic congressman of colour’s district as a “rat and rodent infested mess”.

“If racist Elijah Cummings would focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district, and Baltimore itself, perhaps progress could be made in fixing the mess that he has helped to create over many years of incompetent leadership,” the president wrote on Twitter. “His radical ‘oversight’ is a joke!”

Mr Trump continued escalating his attacks over the weekend against Mr Cummings, going so far as to retweet a reportedly Islamaophobic activist who described the congressman’s majority-black city of Baltimore as a “s***hole”.

The president also attempted to defend himself in the wake of growing backlash for his incendiary comments, writing in a separate tweet, “There is nothing racist in stating plainly what most people already know, that Elijah Cummings has done a terrible job for the people of his district, and of Baltimore itself.”

But he could not push back the growing tide of anger felt nationwide for launching attacks at a growing list of minority politicians and frequently using the term "infested" to describe places with predominantly black populations like Baltimore and African countries.

Earlier this month, Mr Trump hurled insults online at four Democratic congresswomen of colour who he told to "go back" to their countries, despite all but one having been born in the United States. The tweets reflected a racist trope well-known to the country's citizens of colour, who recalled their own experiences of being told to go back to where they came from after the president's comments.

Top Democrats on Capitol Hill have rebuked the president's latest "racist attacks" against Mr Cummings.

Mr Cummings "is a champion in the Congress and the country for civil rights and economic justice, a beloved leader in Baltimore, and deeply valued colleague," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a tweet.

"We all reject racist attacks against him and support his steadfast leadership," she wrote, adding the hashtag #ElijahCummingsIsAPatriot.

Mr Cummings, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has steadily investigated the president’s financial dealings and has sought to obtain the president’s financial records.

On Saturday, he responded to the president in a tweet: “Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors.”

“It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch,” he wrote. “But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”

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The president also insinuated Ms Pelosi was the one with racial issues rather than himself, writing on Saturday, “Someone please explain to Nancy Pelosi, who was recently called racist by those in her own party, that there is nothing wrong with bringing out the very obvious fact that Congressman Elijah Cummings has done a very poor job for his district and the City of Baltimore.”

He then continued to attack Mr Cummings for using “his Oversight Committee to hurt innocent people and divide our Country!”

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