Trump’s latest attack on a Black lawmaker and his majority Black constituency is not new. Rep. Cummings represents Baltimore, which is 60 percent Black and 34 percent white. CNN anchor Victor Blackwell, who hails from Baltimore, took notice of Trump’s habit of using the words “infested” or “infestation” when referring to people of color.
By Lauren Victoria Burke
On the morning of July 27, President Trump launched another racist attack on an African American member of Congress and the people he represents.
“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,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “His district is considered the Worst in the USA.”
“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 continued, spelling Rep. Cummings’ name incorrectly.
Reports, video and still photography from the Mexican border focused on conditions for those detained by U.S. authorities, verify President that Trump is lying. Conditions on our southern border have been described as unsanitary and inhuman. A visit by Vice President Pence on July 12 showed video confirming earlier reports of bad conditions for those detained.
Trump’s latest attack on a Black lawmaker and his majority Black constituency is nothing new. Rep. Cummings represents Baltimore, which is 60 percent Black and 34 percent white. CNN anchor Victor Blackwell, who hails from Baltimore, took notice of Trump’s habit of using the words “infested” or “infestation” when referring to people of color.
“That’s usually reserved for references to rodents and insects, but we’ve seen the president invoke infestation to criticize lawmakers before,’ Blackwell stated on the air on July 27.
“You see a pattern here? Just two weeks ago President Trump attacked four minority congresswomen. ‘Why don’t they go back to the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.’ Reminder, three of them were born here; all of them are American. Infested he says,” the African American CNN anchor added.
Trump also used the word “infestation” in 2017 when he attacked civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis, who represents parts of Atlanta.
“Mr. President, I go home to my district daily,” Rep. Cummings responded to Trump on Twitter. “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 my moral duty to fight for my constituents,” Cummings said.
Cummings told ABC News on July 21 that Trump’s “go back” remarks aimed at the four congresswomen, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Illan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), brought back memories of the racism he faced growing up in Baltimore in the 1960s.
Reaction to Trump’s latest racist tirade was swift.
Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. Jack Young wrote that Trump’s statement was, “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.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), whose father, Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., was the 39th Mayor of Baltimore from 1947 to 1959, and brother, Thomas D’Alesandro III, was Mayor of Baltimore from 1967 to 1971, defended Rep. Cummings and condemned Trump as racist.
“@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,” wrote Speaker Pelosi.
After a torrent of recent racial invective by the current President, commentators on both sides of the political isle are routinely referring to the President’s statements as the most racist they have seen in a lifetime. Few can find a President of the United States whose racist beliefs were so public.
Writing recently in The Atlantic on Trump’s attacks on Rep. Illan Omar, Adam Serwer pointed out, “To attack Omar is to attack a symbol of the demographic change that is eroding white cultural and political hegemony, the defense of which is Trumpism’s only sincere political purpose.”
“This is not about Omar anymore… It is about defending the idea that America should be a country for all its people. If multiracial democracy cannot be defended in America, it will not be defended elsewhere. What Americans do now, in the face of this, will define us forever,” Serwer concluded.
Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist and writer for NNPA as well as a political analyst and strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC.