On Saturday, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to insult and ridicule Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings. The president called Cummings a “bully,” suggesting that the Democrat should — instead of being concerned about conditions in detention camps at the southern border — pay attention to his own district.
“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,” the president tweeted.
Hours later, Trump repeated the attack, posting to Twitter a video meant to demonstrate that Cummings’ district is indeed not being taken care of.
Democrats are now taking note of Trump’s attacks, defending their colleague, and accusing the president of racism, Mediaite reports.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was among the first to describe Trump’s attack on Cummings as racist.
“We all reject racist attacks against him and support his steadfast leadership,” she said.
Other House Democrats quickly joined the conversation, as well as a number of White House hopefuls. Joe Biden, Cory Booker, John Delaney, Kamala Harris, and Beto O’Rourke all condemned Trump’s statements.
“It is despicable for you to attack him and the people of Baltimore this way,” Biden tweeted to Trump.
Cory Booker shared a video of CNN anchor Victor Blackwell struggling to hold back tears while reporting on Trump’s remarks, stating that “this is a moral, defining moment in America.”
Delaney lavished Cummings with praise, calling Trump a “a petty, insecure man,” and pointing out that he had attacked a community of color.
“Baltimore has become home to my team and it’s disgraceful the president has chosen to start his morning disparaging this great American city,” Kamala Harris tweeted.
O’Rourke went a step further, calling Trump “the most openly racist president we’ve had in modern history.”
Trump’s attack on Cummings did not come out of nowhere. As The Washington Examiner reported, the president’s tweets came following a Fox News segment about the city of Baltimore.
President Trump unleashes Twitter rant against Rep. Elijah Cummings, just one hour after Fox & Friends broadcasts similar segmenthttps://t.co/e2szEMjBjD
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) July 27, 2019
The president appears to have watched Republican strategist Kimberly Klacik’s appearance on Fox and Friends Saturday, during which she slammed Cummings for talking about detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border, but supposedly not doing anything to fix the “atrocious” conditions in his own district.
As Vox reporter Aaron Rupar pointed out in a Twitter thread, Trump has used terms such as “infested” in the past, but only when talking about communities of color. The president has used the word six times on Twitter, and every single one of his tweets containing the pejorative was meant to describe places populated by minorities.