‘Don’t Just Come and Criticize’: Elijah Cummings Defends Baltimore Following Trump Criticism

August 5, 2019 Updated: August 5, 2019

Congressman for Baltimore Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) publicly defended his home town for the first time since President Donald Trump described the area as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

The Maryland Democrat told reporters in the Druid Heights neighborhood on Aug. 3 he didn’t “have time for people who want to trash our city.”

Cummings, who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Reform probing Trump’s finances, urged the president to take example from those who have approached the community to offer help, reported USA Today.

“Don’t just come and criticize. Do what these other folks have done,” he said, making reference to the district’s institutional partners which include the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, and the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the University of Maryland.

“They’ve come into our community and they did not say something is wrong with you,” he said during the dedication of a “nature play space.” “They said how can I help? How can I make a difference for generations yet unborn.”

Cummings’s comments came after Trump described him as a “brutal bully” early July 27 before lamenting the conditions in the representative’s home district.

“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 said. “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,” the president continued.

“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!” he added.

Cummings, 68, has been in office since 1996. He represents Maryland’s 7th Congressional District. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 1,191 deaths and 4,328 gun incidents in the district since 2014. Baltimore as a whole has one of the highest murder rates in the nation even as its population has decreased considerably since 1970.

Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at New York University, described Baltimore as a place “where there is an urgent need to make sure that neighborhoods do not continue to fall apart and the population doesn’t give up on the city,” reported The Associated Press in a story about there being 343 killings in 2017, bringing the homicide rate to about 56 per 100,000 people, the highest ever.

The number of murders declined to 309 in 2018, with more than half of the victims being shot in the head, reported The Baltimore Sun. As of July 11, there were 171 murders in the city this year, the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police said. There was also an increase in non-fatal shootings.

Although Cummings didn’t mention the president by name, he told reporters it has been particularly difficult to hear Baltimore’s recent criticism because of the message it is sending its residents.

“We are a great city,” the 68-year-old said. “I do not have time for people who want to trash our city, but I do have time for our kids. Don’t trample on the pain of our people.”

The Epoch Times reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.