Former Major League Baseball player Johnny Damon said he loved when his team visited Baltimore early in his career, but by the end he and his teammates were hesitant to go out while in town, according to TMZ.
Damon, a supporter of President Donald Trump, was responding to a question about the president’s recent criticisms of the quality of life in Baltimore and what he perceives as the failure of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) to improve the city.
“I did (enjoy visiting Baltimore), but a lot more back earlier in 1995,” Damon said. “I could tell toward the end it started getting a little scarier.”
Damon spent a large portion of his career playing for teams in the American League’s east division, which includes the Baltimore Orioles. He retired in 2012.
The former Boston Red Sox star said he did with the president had expressed himself in a less controversial way when discussing Baltimore.
“Obviously, we want him to use better words, you know, but he’s not wrong,” Damon said. “But this is raising awareness for Baltimore because Baltimore was one of the best places to visit when I broke into the league in ’95, and at the end, we didn’t really enjoy going back.
“I think Baltimore is a great town, and this is raising awareness so hopefully they can go in and spend the hard taxpaying dollars to actually make a difference,” Damon continued. “
Damon went on to say that Americans who were offended by Trump calling out Baltimore should not be so sensitive, but rather they should look at the criticisms and see how they can respond to them in a productive way.
Trump’s criticism of Baltimore was spurred by his feud with Cummings, the House Oversight Committee chairman who has led investigations in to Trump and criticized his handling of the immigration crisis at the southern border.
The president said Baltimore was a “rodent-infested mess,” and that the largely black population of the city was “living in hell.”