President Donald Trump created a firestorm Saturday when he launched an attack on the city of Baltimore and its representative in the House, Democrat Elijah Cummings.
“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,” Trump tweeted.
The tweet outraged liberals, but a closer look at the Democrat-run city tends to support the thrust of Trump’s tweets.
The city of Baltimore has indeed faced such a problem with rat infestation that it was the subject of documentary two years ago. The documentary titled “Rat Film” focused on the city’s persistent rodent problem, and currently holds a rating of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.
In fact, the president’s comments were not dissimilar from the city’s former Democratic Mayor Catherine Pugh, who bemoaned the city’s rat problem while touring the city.
“What the hell? We should just take all this sh** down,” Pugh could be heard saying. “Whoa, you can smell the rats.”
In addition to the city’s rat problem, a study conducted by USA Today earlier this year ranked the 25 most dangerous cities in America, and found that Baltimore ranked third. (RELATED: Trump Says Baltimore Is A Dump, The Media Freaks Out. Then Came Videos Of Garbage Strewn Everywhere)
The study factored in poverty rates, violent crime rates, and the unemployment rates from 2017. The city had a violent crime rate of 2,027 per 100,000 residents, a poverty rate of 23.1%, and an unemployment rate of 6.1%, USA Today found. This was actually an improvement from a study conducted by USA Today last year, which ranked Baltimore as the most dangerous city in the U.S.
The city’s homicide rate peaked in 2017 at a rate of roughly 58 per 100,000 residents. While Baltimore has never been the safest city in America, its violent crime rates have skyrocketed in recent years, following the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died in police custody in 2015. The controversy and subsequent investigation led to riots, political posturing, and an eruption of violence in a broken city.
Because of the outrage that surrounded Gray’s death, Baltimore instituted a police “pull back,” caving to rioters and outrage peddlers while violence in the city continued to escalate. A USA Today story from last year detailed the cautious approach the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) have taken since Gray’s death and the subsequent consequences. In the year before Gray’s mysterious death, Baltimore’s murder rate was roughly 34 per 100,000 residents, a number still well above the national average. However, in each of the four years since Gray’s death, the murder rate has exceeded 50 per 100,000 residents, roughly 10 times the national average. (RELATED: Disciplinary Panel Clears Driver Of Police Van In Freddie Gray Case)
The report states:
Police officers reported seeing fewer drug dealers on street corners. They encountered fewer people who had open arrest warrants. Police questioned fewer people on the street. They stopped fewer cars.
Examples given include a man being shot and killed steps away from a police station, and another murder that took place during a funeral procession.
The seemingly-endless violence has taken its toll on the city’s police department. The BPD remains in shambles after several high ranking officials were fired or forced to resign last year following a federal corruption investigation into allegations of racketeering and evidence-planting. The investigation forced the city to potentially re-open up to 850 cases that may have been corrupted by police misconduct. But, as it is in most major cities, in Baltimore the corruption starts at the top. (RELATED: Flashback: Bernie Sanders Compared West Baltimore To ‘Third World Country’)
The last three mayors of Baltimore, who have all been Democrats, have all seen their tenures go up in flames due to corruption and ineffectiveness, with the most recent example coming earlier this year when Mayor Catherine Pugh stepped down after two and a half years in office amid a book scandal.
Pugh’s bizarre downfall involved a children’s book, a disappearance, and a press conference announcing her resignation in which she didn’t even show up. The former mayor allegedly sold her “Healthy Holly” children’s book series to the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) for $500,000 while on the system’s board. (RELATED: Catherine Pugh Campaign Donors Want Their Money Back Following Kids’ Book Fiasco)
While she later repaid some of the money, and canceled the book deal, the scandal served as another black eye on the city of Baltimore, and forced her to resign. The current mayor defended Cummings and slammed Trump’s attacks, but did not address any of these issues that have plagued the city for decades.
“It’s completely unacceptable for the political leader of our country to denigrate a vibrant American City like Baltimore, and to viciously attack U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings a patriot and a hero,” Mayor Bernard Young said.
While Cummings has received widespread praise for his response to Trump, the powerful lawmaker has not been above allegations of corruption himself.
Cummings’ wife, who also serves as the chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, came under fire after it was discovered that she funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars from her charity to her for-profit company. Audits of Maya Rockeymoore Cummings’s accounts found that her charity he Center for Global Policy Solutions (CGPS), paid her for-profit venture, Global Policy Solutions LLC, over $250,000 in “management fees” over a two year span.
The House Oversight Committee chairman has denied any wrongdoing after a watchdog group raised concerns about the transactions, claiming that the allegations were the product of right-wing hit jobs against his family.
“These baseless claims come from a group funded by right-wing mega-donors known for their political hit jobs,” Cummings said at the time. “I am confident that they will be exposed for what they really are — a fabricated distraction from the important work being done on behalf of Americans, such as lowering the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs.”