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The President Started His Week by Accusing Black Leaders of "Playing the Race Card"

After a weekend of bashing Baltimore and House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings, he went after Reverend Al Sharpton.

by Tim Marcin
Jul 29 2019, 12:44pm

President Donald Trump began his week by doing the same thing he did all weekend: tweeting angrily about black leaders and the cities they represent.

After a weekend of attacks on Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings — Trump blamed Cummings for making Baltimore “disgusting” and “rat and rodent infested” — the president expanded his ire to include Reverend Al Sharpton on Monday morning.

When Sharpton announced he was heading to Baltimore, Trump tweeted some barely veiled racism about the longtime civil rights leader.

“Al is a con man, a troublemaker, always looking for a score. Just doing his thing,” Trump tweeted in part. “Hates Whites & Cops!”

Just a few minutes later, he was back to bashing Baltimore. “Baltimore, under the leadership of Elijah Cummings, has the worst Crime Statistics in the Nation. 25 years of all talk, no action! So tired of listening to the same old Bull...Next, Reverend Al will show up to complain & protest. Nothing will get done for the people in need. Sad!”

Trump’s posts about Baltimore were seemingly inspired by a "Fox and Friends" segment that used a similar line of attack against Cummings, who is the chair of the House Oversight Committee investigating Trump’s relationship with Russia and his administration’s use of private email servers, among other things. When Trump caught heat for how he talked about Cummings and Baltimore — “better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one,” wrote the editorial board of the Baltimore Sun — he fired back that Democrats were quick to cry racism.

“Dems always play the race card when they are unable to win with facts. Shame!” he wrote on Twitter over the weekend.

There was no end in sight for the Twitter fight as of Monday morning. After Trump went after him, Sharpton posted a picture of himself with Trump from 2006, saying it showed the then-businessman “telling James Brown and Jesse Jackson why he respects my work” before adding, “different tune now.”

Soon enough, Trump posted about Sharpton again. He claimed Sharpton was secretly a Trump fan, and claimed that, behind closed doors, Sharpton had apologized for the way he talked about Trump during the campaign.

“Just a conman at work!” the president wrote.

Trump has a history of talking about Baltimore like this. In 2015, before he announced his run for the White House, Trump complained about Baltimore, but back then he blamed President Barack Obama, saying he hadn’t “exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore!” Over the weekend Trump retweeted a post calling Baltimore a “sh*thole,” echoing his reported language when he complained about immigrants coming to the U.S. from “shithole countries” in Africa.

Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen has said the president has long believed that black leadership leads to the decline of a city or a nation. Cohen recalled to Vanity Fair: “[Trump] said to me, ‘Name one country run by a black person that’s not a shithole,’ then he added, ‘Name one city.’”

Cover: United States President Donald J. Trump was joined by Acting United States Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan and Guatemalan Minister Enrique Degenhart for the signing of the Safe-Third Agreement in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington D.C., U.S. on July 26, 2019. Credit: Stefani Reynolds / CNP | usage worldwide Photo by: Stefani Reynolds/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images