Bernie Sanders: Baltimore Looks Like A ‘Third World Country’


President Trump is being hit with a flood of criticism from Democrats over a series of Twitter messages aimed at U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and the Baltimore district that Cummings represents in Congress.

Trump sent out a series of tweets on Saturday that attacked Rep. Elijah Cummings and derided the black congressman’s district as “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

Cummings, a Democrat, has represented Maryland’s 7th congressional district since 1996. The district comprises over half of Baltimore city and much of Baltimore and Howard counties. The district, which is majority black, has a median income of $60,929 according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Cummings has been a vocal critic of the president, recently calling the administration’s treatment of migrant children at border facilities a form of “government-sponsored child abuse.” He also serves as chair of the the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which has opened at least 24 probes into the Trump administration, according to a tally by NBC. On Thursday, the committee voted to authorize subpoenas for records of senior White House officials’ use of personal emails and text services for business purposes.

Cummings responded to the president on Saturday, writing on Twitter that he was a dedicated advocate for his constituents.

“Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors,” he said.

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.”

President Trump is not the only high profile political figure to say that the people of Baltimore are suffering from bad management by their elected officials.

Just a few years ago, Sen. Bernie Sanders – a candidate seeking the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination – took his own shots at Baltimore, a struggling Northeast city grappling with high rates of violent crime, drug abuse, poverty and political corruption, and compared the city’s poorest neighborhoods to North Korea in 2015.

“Anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think you’re in a wealthy nation,” Sanders said during a visit to the city’s West Baltimore section in December 2015, the Baltimore Sun reported. “You would think that you were in a Third World country.”

The independent U.S. senator from Vermont also referred to Baltimore as “a community in which half of the people don’t have jobs.”

“We’re talking about a community in which there are hundreds of buildings that are uninhabitable,” he added, according to the Sun.

Prominent Democrats – including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, who was born in Baltimore and whose father was a Baltimore mayor, and presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren – were quick to defend Cummings and fire back at Trump.

Also on Saturday, Sanders appeared to abandon his past critiques of Baltimore and focus instead on defending Cummings and bashing the president.

“Here’s what’s really going on,” Sanders wrote. “@RepCummings has been busy revealing the failures of the Trump administration and exposing the greed of Trump’s friends in the pharmaceutical industry, and our racist president doesn’t like it.”

Responding to the president on Twitter on Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Cummings a “beloved leader in Baltimore, and deeply valued colleague” and urged Democrats to “reject racist attacks against him and support his steadfast leadership.” Pelosi grew up in Baltimore, and her father was once the city’s mayor.

Trump responded to the criticism on Sunday by doubling down, attacking Pelosi’s district in San Francisco as “not even recognizeable lately” and accusing Democrats of playing “the Race Card.”