Democrats and the media exploded at President Donald Trump on Saturday, renewing calls that he is "racist," over criticisms of Baltimore directed at Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who represents the area in Congress.
However, facts, videos, and even past statements from at least one Democratic lawmaker undermine the outrage.
What did Trump say?
"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. His district is considered the Worst in the USA," he tweeted.
"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," the president added. "Why is so much money sent to the Elijah Cummings district when it is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States. No human being would want to live there. Where is all this money going? How much is stolen? Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!"
....As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded.… https://t.co/5NEW7Thmxu— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1564226068.0
Why is so much money sent to the Elijah Cummings district when it is considered the worst run and most dangerous an… https://t.co/O358G0UX84— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1564226667.0
What was the response?
Trump was again labeled a "racist" for his comments, and he was even shouted down by CNN anchor Victor Blackwell.
Blackwell, who is from Baltimore, said in an emotional on-air monologue Saturday:
The President says about Congressman Cummings' district that no human would want to live there. You know who did, Mr. President? I did, from the day I was brought home from the hospital to the day I left for college, and a lot of people I care about still do.
There are challenges, no doubt. But people are proud of their community. 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 people who live in districts of congressmen who support you, sir.
They are Americans, too.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) condemned Trump's criticisms as "racist attacks."
.@RepCummings is a champion in the Congress and the country for civil rights and economic justice, a beloved leader… https://t.co/MzpeORdbDX— Nancy Pelosi (@Nancy Pelosi) 1564243840.0
Baltimore Mayor Bernard Young took criticism to the next level, calling Trump a "disappointment to the people of Baltimore, our country, and to the world."
Other Democrats, including 2020 presidential contenders, seized on the moment to rebuke the president.
But what are the facts?
Despite boasting a population of just a little more than 600,000 people, Baltimore had the highest homicide rate of all top 50 major U.S. cities in 2018, in addition to the second-highest overall violent crime rate in 2018, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Kimberly Klacik, who sits on the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee, tweeted several videos Saturday showing the disastrous conditions of West Baltimore.
Let's continue to expose the truth. This is a neighborhood filled w/families that have small children. West Baltimo… https://t.co/OBShoKIcNG— Kimberly Klacik (@Kimberly Klacik) 1564230367.0
It is so sad to see @VictorBlackwell & @CNN turn the light currently shining on #WestBaltimore into a race issue. T… https://t.co/BZIFTqjUmd— Kimberly Klacik (@Kimberly Klacik) 1564245177.0
Just to be clear I have more videos I filmed this video to show how long many of the row houses have been sitting… https://t.co/34G9jEDXT4— Kimberly Klacik (@Kimberly Klacik) 1564251957.0
In this video, @RepCummings constituents explain how clean Coppin State University is kept, while their neighborhoo… https://t.co/tTPrlgUK7G— Kimberly Klacik (@Kimberly Klacik) 1564259135.0
More trash. More concerned residents. People live in the home with the silver van. This is @RepCummings district. T… https://t.co/TmVpZxFdtC— Kimberly Klacik (@Kimberly Klacik) 1564260239.0
And what do area residents say about Trump's criticism of Cummings? They told Klacik they agree with the president.
"What he said was definitely true," one resident told Klacik. "[Cummings] hasn't done anything for us."
.@kimKBaltimore interviews Baltimore resident Michelle: Michelle on Trump's tweets: "What he said was definitely t… https://t.co/STa9Y61WzF— Ryan Saavedra (@Ryan Saavedra) 1564268890.0
Baltimore resident Michelle on CNN's Victor Blackwell suggesting Trump was racist for his tweet:
“Trump is not racist … I'm glad he put [Cummings] on blast. The rats just didn't come. These houses just didn't get torn down, they've been like this"
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 27, 2019
Even progressive hero Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has criticized the dire condition of Baltimore. While campaigning for president in 2015, Sanders said Baltimore resembles a Third World nation — not a major U.S. city.