Good morning, live blog readers – and welcome to another week that has started with Donald Trump launching racist attacks against a black member of Congress.
Just weeks after the president suggested four minority congresswomen should “go back” to where they came from, he has now suggested that Baltimore, the home city of representative Elijah Cummings, is “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and “the worst run and most dangerous [district] anywhere in the United States”.
Trump continued with that line of racist criticism this morning, upon learning that Al Sharpton was going to visit the city.
It is ironic that Trump is attacking Cummings for being “all talk, no action,” given that the president’s ire was first ignited because of the many investigative steps Cummings has taken as chairman of the House oversight committee.
But the “all talk, no action” line also echoed Trump’s criticisms shortly after he was elected against representative John Lewis, a civil rights icon who was beaten by police during the famous 1965 march in Selma, Alabama. Trump also claimed Lewis’s Georgia district was “in horrible shape,” an assertion that many of the congressman’s constituents dismissed as a “flat-out lie”.
Many residents of Cummings’ majority-black district have similarly denied Trump’s characterization of their home, suggesting that the president’s false attacks are based largely on who lives there.
CNN host Victor Blackwell touched on this issue during an emotional segment discussing Baltimore, where he grew up. “There are challenges no doubt. But people are proud of their community,” said Blackwell, who is African American. “I don’t want to sound self-righteous, but people get up and go to work there, they care for their families there, they love their children who pledge allegiance to the flag just like children do in districts of congressmen who support you, sir. They are Americans too.”
Here are a few other things the blog is keeping its eye on today:
- Director of national intelligence Dan Coats is leaving his post next month, clearing the way for representative John Ratcliffe, a Trump loyalist who grilled special counsel Robert Mueller last week.
- Trump will almost certainly be thrown questions about Coats and his attacks on Cummings when he participates in a signing ceremony for the 9/11 victims fund at 10 a.m. EDT. But there’s no guarantee he’ll respond.
- 2020 candidates are preparing for the next round of debates, which start tomorrow in Detroit.
We’re covering all of that and more today, so stay tuned.