Trump launches attack on Baltimore

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BALTIMORE – Believe me, West Baltimore doesn’t need Donald Trump’s poisonous insults to know it has problems.

This president wants to punish Rep. Elijah Cummings for daring to criticize him, and so he slanders an entire congressional district. He says “no human being” would want to live here. He calls it “rat and rodent-infested.”

This is classic Donald Trump, a bully who can’t see a belt without hitting below it.

Memo to Trump: There’s not a large American city that doesn’t have problems like Baltimore’s – especially in a time of the largest gaps in history between the super-rich and the rest of us.

Has no one ever told this pampered rich-boy president, who’s never known a hungry day in his life, that it’s the job of leaders to look at troubled areas – places where children go to bed hungry because parents can’t find steady work – and say to them, “I want to help you,” instead of stigmatizing them?

Can anyone out there ever recall an American president belittling one of his own cities, even in the midst of the angriest political battles?

Rep. Cummings (Screenshot)

Only Trump, the country’s unofficial father figure who libels parts of his national extended family – and, most consistently, that part of the family with dark skin.

Do we need another accounting of Trump’s early real estate racial violations or his phony Obama birtherism? Do we need a reminder of Charlottesville, or Mexican rapists, or his Muslim slanders, or his “go home” remarks to four congressional Democrats, all women of color?

His shameful remarks about Rep. Cummings and West Baltimore – what Trump really means is black West Baltimore – are just part of an undeniable pattern.

The fact is, Cummings’ congressional district is slightly more than half white and has large suburban areas doing quite well. But Trump wasn’t talking about those areas.

He was talking about the West Baltimore where Freddie Grey died four years ago and set off days of street disturbances. He was talking about black people in Baltimore whose poverty rate is more than double whites’.

Freddie Gray

You want a picture of West Baltimore, Mr. President? Here’s one, taken four years ago in the aftermath of Freddie Gray. It hasn’t changed much since then. It’s a picture where the median household income is $29,000 – compared with $73,000 across the state of Maryland.

It’s a picture where almost 90 percent of all the West Baltimore public school children qualify for free lunches.

You want a closer picture, Mr. President? Across Maryland, in 2016, the median value of a home was $293,000. Across the city of Baltimore, it was $158,000.

Now let’s look a little closer. Let’s take a little stroll along Mount Street, directly across from the Western District police station. You may remember this, Mr. President, because cable news anchors stood on this block during the Freddie Gray riots. It was considered slightly safer than venturing onto nearby Pennsylvania Avenue, where people were setting fires.

On this Mount Street when I took a little stroll two years ago, there was one row house that had just gone on sale – for $26,000. It looked overpriced.

National Guard troops patrolling the streets in Baltimore in the aftermath of the Freddie Grey riots. (Erik Hoffman)

A row house one block away went for $10,000. Still overpriced. A few blocks away, a hand-painted sign on a row house read: For Sale: $500 Down.

And people live inside these little row houses, where winters are sufficiently heated mainly by turning on the kitchen’s oven burners all night long, and lead paint flakes seep into a child’s neurological system the way it happened to Freddie Grey in his youth.

On the 1000 block of Mount Street the last time I was there, of 23 row houses on the block, 9 were abandoned, boarded-over, decaying wrecks. Each one silently declares a neighborhood unlivable.

Whatever happened to the president who promised billions would be spent on infrastructure, which includes the restoration of roads and bridges – and dilapidated houses?

Such abandoned houses as Mount Street’s are havens for drug addicts, a sickness born out of West Baltimore despair, and these addicts leave mounds of trash which linger in every ravaged room, and each room becomes a breeding ground for vermin.

This president would sooner turn such conditions into a political weapon than think about the government indifference – from both parties, and all levels of government, one generation after another – that brought us to this point.

At least every other president had enough grace not to bully and insult and mock those already having a rough go of it. But whoever imagined such a graceless person in the White House, pretending to care about all of the American people, and not just some?

One thought on “Trump launches attack on Baltimore

  • July 30, 2019 at 4:16 PM
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    Everything said is true and he will never want to really see what years of segregation, racism, mass incarceration and children exposed to lead paint have lead to! It has caused the current poverty, violence and drug addiction. He needs to watch the Corner, the documentary says it all

    Reply

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