This week, after The Baltimore Sun slammed a conservative activist who organized 170 volunteers to pick up 12 tons of trash in the city, questioning his motives, a philanthropist threw down the gauntlet to the newspaper, offering to pledge $100,000 to clean up the city if the Sun would retract its editorial.
The editorial was titled, “We assume it was pure motives that led a Trump supporter to launch a cleanup in Cummings’ district, right?” In the op-ed, the Sun blasted activist Scott Presler, whose volunteers completed the massive job in only 12 hours, cynically writing, “Look, we appreciate anyone who is willing to roll up their sleeves to help Baltimore. More than 170 people came from all over the country and cleaned up nearly 12 tons of trash, according to Mr. Presler’s Twitter feed. He doesn’t post any photos of the totality of the trash, so we’ll have to take his word for it. But if this was all about ‘Americans helping Americans,’ why all the videos of Baltimore residents thanking Mr. Trump for bringing attention to the issue? We happen to know that not everybody in West Baltimore feels that way. And in the same posts as the videos, why the frequent reminders that this is in act Mr. Cummings’ district?”
The op-ed added, “Whatever he says his motives were, Mr. Presler’s presence in Baltimore reinforces the tired image of our failing urban cores. That the poor people in this dilapidated city can’t take care of their own neighborhoods and all the public officials around them have failed as well. The bureaucratic, all-talk Democrats strike again. If a crowd of volunteers could clean up 12 tons of trash in 12 hours, how incompetent and helpless must Baltimoreans be if they can’t manage it in decades, right?”
But then the Sun contradicted its previous statement, writing, “We also hope Mr. Presler keeps his promise to return to Baltimore once a month. It would definitely give his motives more credibility.”
Philanthropist Bill Pulte fired back at the Sun on Twitter, writing, “My teammates and I will pledge $100,000 to Baltimore neighborhood clean up (I know a thing or two about that!) in Baltimore if the Baltimore Sun retracts this article that discourages people who want to help the City, when the amazing residents want them (to) help!”
In late July, President Trump targeted West Baltimore, specifically, the district of Rep. Elijah Cummings, tweeting:
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. 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. 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.