Over the weekend, President Trump once again took to Twitter and sparked yet another firestorm over what Democrats, once again, have determined are “racist” comments about a Democratic politician. On the heels of getting embroiled in a bruising feud with “The Squad” — both sides branding each other “racist” in the process — Trump laid into former Black Caucus Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD) for what Trump portrayed as his egregious neglect of his district, particularly the crime-ridden, “rat and roden infested mess” Baltimore.

The Democrats’ response to Trump’s attacks on Cummings has been even more furious than with his battle with “The Squad,” with Democratic politicians and their allies in the media declaring Trump racist for highlighting Baltimore’s well-documented problems and singling out Cummings.

But is this part of Trump’s grand “strategy”? Citing unnamed sources “informed about the discussion,” The New York Times reports that “several” White House officials agreed during a senior staff meeting on Monday that Trump’s attacks on Cummings were a “bad move” and are the result of “impulse,” not 4-dimensional chess. Officials also told the Times that Trump’s real reason for targeting Cummings is not the congressman’s attacks on Border Patrol.

“Several White House officials expressed agreement during a senior staff meeting on Monday morning that the president’s attacks were a bad move, according to people informed about the discussion, but they were uncertain who could intervene with him — or if anyone would even dare try,” the Times reported Monday.

The White House officials, the Times reports, “privately scoffed at the idea that it was strategy rather than impulse, concluding that any political benefit he might derive by revving up his conservative, largely white base could be offset by alienating more moderate voters in the suburbs of states like Wisconsin and Michigan that he needs to win a second term.”

As for what prompted Trump’s initial tweets slamming Cummings for allowing Baltimore to become one of the nation’s “Rattiest Cities,” the Times reports that three of the president’s advisers said he had complained about the congressman repeatedly over the weekend, two of them stating that “the real source of his ire was the decision by the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which Mr. Cummings leads, to authorize subpoenas for all work-related texts and emails sent or received by Mr. Kushner and Ivanka Trump, the president’s elder daughter and senior adviser, on personal accounts.”

The controversy started Saturday with a series of tweets by Trump. “Rep. Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous,” Trump tweeted Saturday.

“His district is considered the Worst in the USA. As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded,” he continued. “Cumming[s’] 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.”

“Why is so much money sent to the Elijah Cummings district when it is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States. No human being would want to live there. Where is all this money going? How much is stolen?” Trump added. “Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!”

As Democratic outrage mounted, Trump doubled and tripled down. “Elijah Cummings spends all of his time trying to hurt innocent people through ‘Oversight.’ He does NOTHING for his very poor, very dangerous and very badly run district!” Trump added in follow-up tweets. “So sad that Elijah Cummings has been able to do so little for the people of Baltimore. Statistically, Baltimore ranks last in almost every major category. Cummings has done nothing but milk Baltimore dry, but the public is getting wise to the bad job that he is doing!”

Related: Trump: Why Isn’t Bernie A ‘Racist’ For Making This Brutal Comment About Baltimore?

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