Trump ramps up war of words with Elijah Cummings, calls congressman 'racist'
President Trump ramped up his feud with House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., on Sunday calling the congressman “racist,” not long after critics had claimed the president's initial tweets about Cummings were racist themselves.
Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon, “If racist Elijah Cummings would focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district, and Baltimore itself, perhaps progress could be made in fixing the mess that he has helped to create over many years of incompetent leadership.”
He added, “His radical ‘oversight’ is a joke!”
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The day before, Trump also called out Cummings, calling him a “brutal bully” for how he spoke to border patrol officials. Trump said the congressman’s Baltimore district was in “FAR WORSE” shape than the situation at the southern border.
That rebuke resulted in claims of racism from Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Trump hit back, citing claims of racism against Pelosi from some progressive Democrats.
The president appeared to be referring to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., accusing Pelosi earlier this month of “singling out” women of color. That was after Pelosi dismissed Ocasio-Cortez and her “Squad” -- including Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley -- as being more influential on social media than in Congress. Trump defended Pelosi at the time.
On Saturday, Pelosi stood by Cummings and the city of Baltimore, where she was born, and rebuked Trump, calling his remarks “racist.”
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“We all reject racist attacks against [Cummings] and support his steadfast leadership,” Pelosi tweeted Saturday.
Trump responded, “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, and of Baltimore itself. Dems always play the race card when they are unable to win with facts. Shame!”
Later Sunday, Trump pointed out that “African American unemployment is the lowest (best) in the history of the United States,” under his administration.
Trump went on to say he was “Waiting for Nancy and Elijah to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. President!’”
Cummings did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Among Trump's tweets Saturday, one included a video purportedly showing blight in Baltimore. He asked the congressman, “why don’t you focus on your district!?"
Cummings responded to Trump’s initial criticism, however, writing in a tweet, “Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors.”
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He added, “It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.