Donald Trump insisted Tuesday as he spoke to press for the first time since he levied an attack on Rep. Elijah Cummings that he’s not racist and the White House phone lines are lighting up with residents of Baltimore who agree with him.
Trump said blacks who live in the city have been calling the White House to thank him for drawing attention to their squalid living conditions in the city he claimed is ‘filthy dirty’ and and ‘so horrible’ because corrupt politicians have been mishandling their tax money.
He claimed the city’s money has been ‘stolen and wasted by people like Elijah Cummings’ before declaring that his assault on the black congressman is not related to the color of his skin.
‘I am the least racist person there is anywhere in the world,’ he said.
Trump said MSNBC host and activist Al Sharpton, who has claimed that Trump has a ‘particular venom’ for persons of color, is the one with racial blinders on.
‘Now he’s a racist. He’s a racist!’ the president told reporters on the South Lawn.
Sharpton made the remarks at a press conference Monday in Baltimore – a city that Trump say he’ll go to ‘at the right time’ as he prepared to leave the White House for West Virginia.
The president said he’d liked to see Cummings bring the Capitol Hill committee he chairs to Baltimore for a field trip.
‘He should take his oversight committee, bring them down to Baltimore and study billions stolen,’ the president charged, as he dug into the Democrat.
Donald Trump insisted Tuesday as he spoke to press for the first time since he levied an attack on Rep. Elijah Cummings that he’s not racist and the White House phone lines are lighting up with residents of Baltimore who agree with him
Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece, Alveda King, defended Donald Trump on Monday outside the White House after a meeting there with inner city pastors that an attendee said was on the agenda before the president’s about Baltimore and crime.
‘The president is concerned about the whole nation. About everybody in the nation,’ she said. ‘So I want us to remember, that we’ve been designed to be brothers and sisters. One member of the human race. Not separate races. The same blood.’
King told reporters after the closed-door event that wasn’t on the president’s schedule, but he revealed was taking place on Twitter, that she had an old photo of Trump and the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton that she would share on Twitter later.
‘And at one time in their lives, they highly regarded the president. And, so I’m thinking about a scripture: If it had been my enemy, I could have understood, I could have known what to do, but you were my friends and my brothers,’ she said. ‘So these are his brothers.’
President Trump turned his ire to Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Monday as he opened up a third front in his Baltimore battle
Alveda King, second from right, niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. together with other religious leaders, from left, Rev. Bill Owens, Rev. Dean Nelson and Bishop Harry Jackson, speaks to reporters following a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House
King said she had, then tweeted, an old photo of Trump and the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton
King did not say whether she was personally troubled by Trump’s comments that a majority-black district in Maryland that’s represented by African-American Congressman Elijah Cummings were inappropriate.
Instead she said in brief remarks, ‘Well you know, America is troubled. And if we say we’re color-blind, we need to put on our glasses.’
‘We can see. We can see a troubled America, but we can see a blessed America. The employment rates are up in every community, including the black community,’ she said. ‘The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) under this president are being blessed. The babies in the womb, the sick and poor and elderly are being blessed.’
King added,’We have an opportunity to continue to be blessed, and we have a president’s whose listening. And I was glad to pray with him today. Now that’s it.’
Bill Owens, the founder and President of the Coalition of African American Pastors, picked up where King left off after she walked away, denying that Trump is a racist and arguing that the president has worked to improve conditions in African-American communities.
‘I find it hard to believe,’ he said of the charges against Trump.
He said that Trump can ‘of course’ do more and should go to Baltimore himself.
‘I think he should. It would be good,’ he told DailyMail.com.
He would not delve into Trump’s comments about Cummings’ district, including a claim that it is infested.
‘Well, those are his words. I don’t want to second-guess what he says, because I hear a lot of things. I see also people pandering to black people, to get them on board with some of their agenda,’ he said during the question and answer session.
The president, for his part, did not respond to a question from DailyMail.com about when he might go to Baltimore during his only event with press of the day.
Nor did he address the dispute in Rose Garden remarks as he signed a bill extending health care benefits permanently to first responders on 9/11.
Trump had turned his ire to Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Sharpton earlier on Monday as he opened up a new font in his Baltimore battle.
‘Crazy Bernie Sanders recently equated the City of Baltimore to a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY! Based on that statement, I assume that Bernie must now be labeled a Racist, just as a Republican would if he used that term and standard!’ he charged.
Trump further claimed that he’d be happy to help leaders of the urban area clean the city up, if they requested his assistance.
‘The fact is, Baltimore can be brought back, maybe even to new heights of success and glory, but not with King Elijah and that crew. When the leaders of Baltimore want to see the City rise again, I am in a very beautiful oval shaped office waiting for your call! he tweeted.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan later called Trump’s comments ‘outrageous and inappropriate’ and asked what Trump is doing about the city’s problems.
Sanders in 2015 claimed: ‘Anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think you’re in a wealthy nation. You would think that you were in a Third World country’
Trump further claimed that he’d be happy to assist leaders of the urban area clean the city up, if they requested his assistance
Sanders had in 2015 compared Baltimore to a Third World country.
‘Anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think you’re in a wealthy nation. You would think that you were in a Third World country,’ he said.
Yet, he criticized Trump in a Sunday morning interview for zeroing in on a majority-black district by calling it rat-infested and hitting out at Elijah Cummings.
After Trump brought up his own comments, Sanders slapped back: ‘Trump’s lies and racism never end. While I have been fighting to lift the people of Baltimore and elsewhere out of poverty with good paying jobs, housing and health care, he has been attacking workers and the poor.’
Trump’s attack on Sanders was part of a third day of rage against Cummings, whom he’s feuding with over border security.
He then opened up on activist and MSNBC host the Rev. Al Sharpton in more Monday morning tweets, in which he also claimed that the Democratic congressman is responsible for crime in Baltimore.
WHAT BERNIE SANDERS SAID ABOUT BALTIMORE IN 2015
‘Anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think you’re in a wealthy nation. You would think that you were in a Third World country.‘
‘Baltimore, under the leadership of Elijah Cummings, has the worst Crime Statistics in the Nation. 25 years of all talk, no action! So tired of listening to the same old Bull…Next, Reverend Al will show up to complain & protest. Nothing will get done for the people in need. Sad!’ he wrote.
He added: ‘If the Democrats are going to defend the Radical Left “Squad” and King Elijah’s Baltimore Fail, it will be a long road to 2020. The good news for the Dems is that they have the Fake News Media in their pocket!’
Trump charged Sharpton with hating ‘whites & cops’ in an early Monday morning Twitter rant.
Sharpton tweeted that he was on his way to defend Baltimore and the Democratic lawmaker after Trump attacked both, causing the president to fire back at the prominent African American civil rights activist.
‘I have known Al for 25 years. Went to fights with him & Don King, always got along well. He ‘loved Trump!’ He would ask me for favors often. Al is a con man, a troublemaker, always looking for a score. Just doing his thing. Must have intimidated Comcast/NBC. Hates Whites & Cops!,’ the president tweeted.
His attack came shortly before Sharpton hosted a press conference in Baltimore with former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who served as lieutenant governor of Maryland.
‘He attacks everybody. I know Donald Trump. He’s not mature enough to take criticism. He’s like a child,’ Sharpton said at the event.
‘But he has a particular venom for blacks and people of color. He doesn’t refer to any of his other opponents or critics as “infested.” He does not attack their districts. He attacks Nancy Pelosi. He attacks Chuck Schumer. He attacks other whites but never said their districts or states are places no human being wants to live,’ he added.
Donald Trump attacked the Rev. Al Sharpton in an early morning Tweet storm
Sharpton responded to the early morning attack with a tweet of his own, sharing a photo from 2006 featuring him, Trump, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and singer James Brown.
‘Trump at NAN Convention 2006 telling James Brown and Jesse Jackson why he respects my work. Different tune now,’ he wrote.
He later tweeted: ‘Trump says I’m a troublemaker & con man. I do make trouble for bigots. If he really thought I was a con man he would want me in his cabinet.’
And Sharpton told MSNBC Monday morning, ‘I intend to make trouble every time racists and bigots move around in any way shape or form, including the president.’
The two men, both prominent New Yorkers, became acquainted in the 1980s.
Sharpton has grown increasingly critical of Trump throughout his presidency and slammed Trump’s attacks on the ‘squad’ – four minority lawmakers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib – as ‘racist.’
Sharpton described his and Trump’s on-and-off relationship in a 2017 interview with Vice News.
‘Down through the years we saw each other, fell out, made up, fell out,’ he said.
But, he said, their friendship ended during the ‘birther’ controversy, when Trump pushed a disproven theory that then-President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
‘We had a meeting and argued about it, and that was it from there,’ Sharpton said.
The sitting president had other comments that were coming back to haunt him on Monday from 2015, when he blamed then-President Barack Obama for crime in Maryland’s capital city and said the nation’s leader should go to Baltimore and calm racial tensions.
At the time of Trump’s initial comments, riots were consuming the city, following the death of 25-year-old, black man, Freddie Gray while he was in police custody.
He chided Obama in a tweet that said, ‘Our great African American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore!’
‘President Obama, you have a big job to do. Go to Baltimore and bring both sides together. With proper leadership, it can be done! Do it,’ he’d claimed.
He claimed in the April 28 messages, which came before he entered the 2016 race for the GOP nomination, ‘I would fix it fast!’
Al Sharpton said a Baltimore press conference Monday that Trump has a ‘particular venom for blacks and people of color’
Sharpton in in Baltimore Monday to defend Rep. Elijah Cummings
Sharpton and Trump were friends in the 1980s but their friendship ended when Trump embraced the ‘birther’ controversy surrounding then-President Obama
Cummings chairs the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is investigating several different areas related to the Trump, including oversight of his administration; security clearances for his staff which includes those for the president’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner; any ties with Russia from the 2016 campaign; any violations of the Emoluments Clause, which forbids officials from benefiting financially from their government job; immigration issues; national security issues and voting rights issues.
His committee has subpoenaed White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, who declined to appear before his panel, and last week voted to authorize subpoenas for personal emails and texts used for official business by top White House aides, including Ivanka Trump and Kushner.
On Sunday, Trump defended his criticism of Cummings and Baltimore, saying, ‘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.’
‘The Democrats always play the Race Card, when in fact they have done so little for our Nation’s great African American people,’ Trump posted to Twitter. ‘Now, lowest unemployment in U.S. history, and only getting better. Elijah Cummings has failed badly!’
In response to claims his comments were racist, Trump tweeted he was just ‘stating plainly what most people already know’
He said Cummings needs to focus on ‘fixing the mess’ in Baltimore instead of seeking impeachment investigations on the House Oversight Committee or criticizing the conditions at the border
Trump issued attacks on Cummings and his district after the lawmakers criticized conditions migrants were being held in at the southern border
In another tweet following up on the initial attacks, Trump said the congressman should focus more on ‘fixing the mess’ in Baltimore instead of border issues and pursing impeachment.
‘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. His radical ‘oversight’ is a joke!’ Trump tweeted.
Trump first launched his Twitter attack on Cummings on Saturday after the Oversight Committee chairman criticized conditions at the Southern border.
The outraged president defended the border detention centers as ‘clean, efficient and well run, just very crowded’, and then claimed the facilities are superior to Cummings’ own district in Maryland.
‘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,’ Trump tweeted Saturday.
‘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,’ Trump wondered in another tweet. ‘No human being would want to live there. Where is all this money going? How much is stolen? Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!’
Critics said Trump was taking a dig at Baltimore residents, who are more than 60 per cent black and African American, and suggesting they were not humans.
Trump said Cummings was a ‘bully’ to Customs and Border Patrol agents and claimed the situations at border facilities are better than in Baltimore, which Cummings represents in Congress
He claimed Baltimore is ‘disgusting’ and ‘rat and rodent infested.’ He also said no ‘human being’ would want to live there, which prompted many to say the tweets were racially motivated
Cummings said he visits his home district every day – Baltimore is about an hour drive from Washington D.C.
Cummings responded to Trump’s insults saying, ‘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. But, it is,’ he said.
Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, had defended the president and claimed the tweets were not racially motivated on Sunday.
He told Fox News that tweets Trump sent about Cummings and Baltimore a day prior had ‘absolutely zero to do with race,’ and instead were a reflection of the reality that the House Oversight Committee chairman is spending more time on impeachment.
‘Look I was in Congress for six years,’ he said. ‘If I had poverty in my district like they have in Baltimore, if I had crime in my district like they have in Chicago, if I had homelessness in my district like they have in San Francisco, and I spent all my time in Washington D.C. chasing down this Mueller investigation, this bizarre impeachment crusade, I’d get fired.’
‘And I think the president is right to raise that, it has absolutely zero to do with race,’ Mulvaney added.