Liberals have rushed to condemn President Donald Trump as racist for tweeting this weekend that Baltimore is a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
However, amid the outrage, a 2018 video has resurfaced of then-Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh making very similar comments. In a Fox 45 segment broadcast last September, Pugh, a black Democrat, tours an East Baltimore neighborhood with other city leaders.
“What the hell. We should just take all this shit down,” she can be heard saying of the surrounding slums. “Whoa, you can smell the rats. Whew, Jesus. Oh, my God, you can smell the dead animals.”
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
Catherine Pugh gets a very different response than Trump
Soon thereafter, a number of leading Democrats, including several 2020 presidential candidates, came to Cummings’ defense.Current Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. Jack Young called Trump’s tweets “completely unacceptable.” He hailed Baltimore as a “vibrant American City” and Cummings a “patriot and a hero.”
It’s completely unacceptable for the political leader of our country to denigrate a vibrant American City like Baltimore, and to viciously attack U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings a patriot and a hero. pic.twitter.com/TJdbST6Md9
— Mayor Bernard C. Jack Young (@mayorbcyoung) July 27, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — a California Democrat whose father once represented Baltimore in Congress and, along with her brother, served as its mayor — also praised Cummings.
She added: “We all reject racist attacks against him and support his steadfast leadership.”
.@RepCummings is 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. #ElijahCummingsIsAPatriot https://t.co/2LG8AuQrHh
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 27, 2019
Meanwhile, the Maryland chapter of the NAACP called Trump’s tweets racist and called for him to be impeached.
“These latest tweets reaffirm the NAACP Maryland State Conference’s position echoing the call of the National NAACP that this president must be impeached,” NAACP MSC President Gerald Stansbury said in a statement. “A nation is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens, and we are ashamed of his rhetoric. America deserves a president who lifts our cities up, not one who heaps trash talk on them.”
Many in the media also framed Trump’s tweets as further proof of his racism. They pointed, among other things, to his July 14 suggestion on Twitter that four freshman Democratic congresswomen “of color” “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
Places Trump has dubbed rat infested, shitholes, terrible places etc:- Districts with black or brown congress members (Reps Elijah Cummings, John Lewis, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, AOC…)- Countries run by black and brown people.A pattern is a pattern.— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) July 27, 2019
- Then-Mayor Catherine Pugh tours East Baltimore in September 2018.: Twitter