Donald Trump, the President of the United States, has had it in for the city of Baltimore for quite some time. At least that’s what it seems like if you scroll down on his Twitter feed way back to 2015. His exclamations about Baltimore divided Americans into two opposing camps back then, and his newest set of tweets about Congressman Elijah Cummings are no different. Trump recently criticized Cummings for the way he looks after his district of Baltimore, which he called a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”

Naturally, Trump’s comments caused US citizens and Internet users all over the world to lose their minds. However, one positive thing to come out of the political chaos was a healthy dose of perspective. Twitter user BJS_quire made a series of insightful tweets with pictures of squalor which he claimed were from Baltimore, only to put a comical spin on things and reveal that the photos were actually from Republican-controlled districts.

Donald Trump has been accusing politicians of doing a poor job in Baltimore, Maryland since 2015

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Image credits: realDonaldTrump

Some Americans supported Trump, while others called him out for cherry-picking the worst examples from Baltimore to further his own political agenda. US media outlets seem to be similarly divided along partisan lines.

Congressman Cummings didn’t stay quiet and responded to the President’s accusations: “Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors. It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”

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Image credits: realDonaldTrump

Linas Kojala, director of the Eastern Europe Studies Centre in Vilnius, told Bored Panda in an interview that Trump has so far managed to retain his core voting base, despite numerous previous scandals, each of which was thought to either end his career or drastically reduce his popularity: “But this didn’t happen, because he isn’t your run-of-the-mill politician.”

“Trump exclaimed a few years ago: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?” Kojala mentioned Trump’s confidence in himself. The political scientist drew attention to the fact that the Gallup Poll results from the previous few months have the US President’s job approval rating at nearly 43%. That’s the highest rating Trump’s achieved during his entire term in the White House so far.

The President recently accused Congressman Elijah Cummings of doing a very bad job of representing Baltimore, which he called a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess”

Image credits: realDonaldTrump

Image credits: realDonaldTrump

Image credits: realDonaldTrump

Kojala stated that the current scandal with Congressman Cummings wasn’t likely to damage Trump’s reputation: “Some would argue that he’s doing this on purpose, with the intention to draw attention away from other issues.”

The director of the EESC explained that Trump’s tweets about Cummings were a response to the latter’s criticism of the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan. “It’s hard to disagree with the fact that Baltimore has social and economic problems, which are debated even on TV shows. However, the President’s criticism was very harsh, and far from everyone is used to such rhetoric from somebody who is supposed to act as a leader that unites everyone.”

“For some time now, Trump has been actively working towards securing a second term. This specific event with Cummings is unlikely to be very important for the elections, because there are still 462 days to go, the election campaign is just getting started, and there will be plenty of new controversies,” Kojala elaborated about the upcoming Presidential elections. “Also, such news get less attention during the summer holidays. Of course, the current scandal’s consequences will depend on Trump’s opponents ability to use the President’s various statements against him. In 2016, Hillary Clinton failed to do that, so the Democratic Party’s new presidential candidate’s strategy might be different.”

One Twitter user responded to the President’s tweets with a healthy dose of criticism, pointing out Trump’s hypocrisy

Image credits: BJS_quire

Image credits: BJS_quire

Image credits: BJS_quire

Image credits: BJS_quire

Image credits: BJS_quire

The majority of Baltimore’s inhabitants are black (around 63.7% according to data from 2010), so the President’s tweets also came under fire for being ‘racist’. Trump, however, denied allegations that his comments about Baltimore were such. “There is nothing racist in stating plainly what most people already know, that Elijah Cummings has done a terrible job for the people of his district,” the President wrote on Twitter. “Dems always play the race card when they are unable to win with facts.”

Unfortunately, this is already the second accusation of racism to mar his presidency in just a few short weeks. Trump recently came under attack for verbally assaulting four congresswomen of color, who together are known as The Squad.

Other Twitter users quickly joined in with their own examples

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In several tweets, the President inferred that representatives Ayanna Pressly, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ilhan Omar ought to ‘go back’ home. However, it quickly became apparent that the President may not have known where the four women were originally from. Pressly is from Cincinnati, Tlaib is from Detroit, Ocasio-Cortez is from New York; only Omar immigrated from Somalia as a small child but she became a US citizen at the age of 17.

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Congressman Cummings, who represents Maryland’s 7th congressional district, is 68 years old and is already serving his 13th term in the House of Representatives. He started way back in 1996. His district includes just over half of Baltimore City, most of the majority-black precincts of Baltimore County as well as most of Howard County. In 2018, 309 homicides were reported in Baltimore, while 342 people were killed in this city in 2017.

Here’s what people had to say about Trump’s remarks about Baltimore

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Even though Trump’s comments created a strong backlash, some Baltimore residents weren’t so quick to dismiss the President’s criticism. “I think a lot of people don’t take time to acknowledge why these problems exist,” Robert from Baltimore explained to Newsweek. “The main factory jobs all closed. There is a long history of a lack of resources in Baltimore city, and I think until that itself is addressed it’s easy to make comments like the city is messed up or dangerous. Yeah it is, but why is it?”

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Meanwhile, another anonymous Baltimore resident told Newsweek that Trump’s tweets were “a wakeup call. The city needs a wakeup call.” 

According to longtime Baltimore residents, the city does, in fact, have serious problems with gun violence. Some Baltimoreans told the media that a local barber was killed just a week ago, while he was buying backpacks for local children, to motivate them to go to school. 

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