President Donald Trump has been accused of using attacks against Baltimore and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), which some have called racist, as a political strategy. Not so, the president said Monday, according to The Hill.
“There’s no strategy. I have no strategy. There’s zero strategy. All it is is I’m pointing out facts,” Trump said. “The most unsafe city in our country is Baltimore.”
Cummings has been critical of President Trump’s immigration policy, and has spearheaded investigations into Trump and his campaign as the chair of the House Oversight Committee.
But the president denied that there was any personal anger toward Cummings driving the feud.
“I’m just telling you the facts,” Trump said, according to The Hill. “I’m not angry at anybody. I’m just saying Elijah Cummings has been there for 26 years. … He’s seen these mayors get thrown out, thrown out, thrown out. They’re all friends of his.”
The subplot to this verbal warfare over immigrant detention conditions and the quality of life in Baltimore is an escalation in the number of observers and media outlets calling the president racist.
A new Quinnipiac poll found that 80 percent of African Americans believe President Trump is racist, and 51 percent of overall respondents took that stance. Trump blamed the results on inaccurate media coverage.
“If the news reported it properly of all of the things I’ve done for African Americans … I think I’d do very well with the African Americans,” Trump said. “And I think I’m doing very well right now.”
The president earned only a small portion of the black vote in 2016, meaning he already faced an uphill battle with that demographic for 2020. Inaccurate media coverage or not, the poll results open up the possibility that Trump’s recent comments about Baltimore and about minority congresswomen may be hurting him by overshadowing economic wins such as record low black and Hispanic unemployment.