The 7th Congressional District in Maryland is one of the wealthiest majority black congressional districts in the country, with a median income above the national average.
But that didn’t stop Donald Trump from slamming the district in a controversial Twitter attack on Saturday morning, calling it a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” as he lashed out at the black congressman elected to serve the people there. The tweet drew some immediate pushback online, with many pointing out that Donald Trump appeared to take his attack directly from a Fox News segment he had just watched. Others noted that the district is actually above average for income and includes a mix of very different areas.
“Not that it really matters but Cummings’ district has above-average college education rates and home prices, along with a pretty good mix of urban and suburban areas (even some rural), and well-off, working-class and middle-class areas,” wrote statistician Nate Silver on Twitter.
Donald Trump has come under fire in recent weeks for attacks widely condemned as racist. Trump laid into a group of Democratic congresswomen of color in one tweet, telling them to go back to their “original” countries despite the fact that three were born in the United States and the fourth, Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, was a naturalized citizen who emigrated from Somalia.
Trump drew more controversy later in the week at a rally when he laid into Omar, leading the crowd to chant “Send her back!” Trump later disavowed the chant, claiming that he tried to stop them by speaking quickly once the chant started, but video showed that Trump actually paused to allow the chant to play out.
Donald Trump’s tweet this weekend was taking aim at Elijah Cummings for his criticism of the conditions for migrants at the U.S. border. The Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy has led to overcrowded conditions at detention facilities both for adults and child migrants, with reports that detained migrants are forced to stay in packed holding areas with no blankets or access to basic hygiene like toothbrushes or access to showers.
As the Washington Examiner noted, Trump launched into a personal attack on Cummings and his district.
“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. His district is considered the Worst in the USA,” Donald Trump wrote in the series of tweets. “As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded. 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's attack on Rep. Cummings is a straight recitation of a Fox segment. "Living conditions at the border are better than most areas in his district, the city lined with abandoned building and trash on the streets."
Left, Fox & Friends, 6:18 a.m.
Right, Trump, 7:14 a.m. pic.twitter.com/w5OniqHgW6
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) July 27, 2019
The Fox News segment on Elijah Cummings broadcast less than half an hour before Donald Trump’s tweet calling the majority-black district a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”