In a little over three months, the editorial board of the Baltimore Sun appeared to execute quite the turnaround of opinion.
The board on April 11 — in its "Baltimore's perpetual trash problem" piece — asked in its lead paragraph, "Why can't we have a clean city? It's a problem that has perplexed generations of mayors in Baltimore. Call it the perpetual trash nemesis."
The piece continued, calling Baltimore "a mess of a city. Food containers, balled up clothes, paper, banana peels, plastic bags and tons of other pieces of litter line the shoulders of roads, pile up in alleys and are strewn across fields and yards. Not only is it unsightly and contributes to a rodent problem, but it can create a glum and gloomy feel in a time when the city is already facing self-esteem issues because of high crime and the scandal surrounding the University Maryland Medical System and Mayor Catherine Pugh, who's now on an indefinite leave, and her Healthy Holly books. If anything, the city needs a major scrubbing to help restore some of its faith and image."
On second thought
Fast forward to Saturday, and the Sun's editorial board — reacting to President Donald Trump calling U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings' 7th Congressional District, which encompasses much of Baltimore, "filthy" and a "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" — ran with the following headline: "Better to have a few rats than to be one."
"It's not hard to see what's going on here," the Sun's piece said. "The congressman has been a thorn in this president's side, and Mr. Trump sees attacking African American members of Congress as good politics, as it both warms the cockles of white supremacists who love him and causes so many of the thoughtful people who don't to scream."
The editorial board went on to laud 7th District spots such as Johns Hopkins Hospital, the U.S. Social Security Administration, and the "beauty of the Inner Harbor" — where a police officer said "masses of juveniles" were "fighting" one night in late May, according to Ulysses Munoz, a visual journalist for the Sun.
Heavy police presence at the Inner Harbor. There was a large crowd of people running away as I parked. Police took… https://t.co/k1L23uqewx— Baltimore Sun staff ☀️ @ EIJ (@Baltimore Sun staff ☀️ @ EIJ)1558834790.0
Six were arrested for destruction of property and disorderly conduct, the Crime Report said, adding that it was "at least the fourth time since last summer a large group of youths has been implicated in rowdy, public behavior."
Yet the Sun's editorial board noted, "If there are problems here, rodents included, they are as much [Trump's] responsibility as anyone's, perhaps more because he holds the most powerful office in the land."
The editorial board's scathing piece also called Trump "the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women's private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin, and the guy who insisted there are 'good people' among murderous neo-Nazis" and said he's "still not fooling most Americans into believing he's even slightly competent in his current post. Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity."
The piece concluded: "Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one."
Here's a 2016 Sun video report about union workers in Baltimore's subway protesting rat infestation:
Workers Protest Rats In Baltimore's Subway youtu.be