The Trump campaign on Thursday mocked Baltimore-born CNN host Victor Blackwell’s emotional response to the president calling the city “disgusting” and a “rodent infested mess.”
The Trump War Room, a Twitter account managed by the campaign, shared a tweet of Blackwell’s impassioned rebuke of the president’s use of “infested” by splicing Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsSenate Democrats demand Trump order review of White House security clearances Lemon raises Trump’s ‘racist rhetoric’ to candidates after president’s criticism Hillicon Valley: States pose next hurdle for T-Mobile, Sprint | Williamson most searched-for candidate during debate | Lawmakers seek documents on border patrol Facebook group | FTC surprised by flood of Equifax claims MORE‘s (D-Md.) comments about Baltimore in between the broadcaster’s remarks.
“This morning, I left my community in Baltimore, a drug-infested area,” Cummings says, as the video cuts back to Blackwell saying “infested” is “usually reserved for references to rodents and insects.”
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) August 1, 2019
The clip again transitions to Cummings stating, at a congressional hearing in 1999, that he’s seen children grow up to look like “zombies.” It concludes by showing Blackwell as he chokes up during the segment.
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
Trump has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks over his attacks against a group of Democratic minority lawmakers. On Saturday, the president targeted Cummings, calling him a “brutal bully” and casting his Baltimore-area district as “dangerous” and “filthy.”
Blackwell responded on Saturday by decrying Trump’s use of “infested” to describe where people of color live. He noted that Trump used the same word while attacking a group of freshman lawmakers — Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) — a few weeks earlier.
“Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpComedy Central shoots down Trump Jr. after he joked network should host Democratic debates Booker: If Obama was running for a third term, ‘I wouldn’t be running’ De Blasio releases plan to substantially raise taxes on the rich, corporations MORE has tweeted more than 43,000 times. He’s insulted thousands of people, many different types of people. But when he tweets about infestation, it’s about black and brown people,” Blackwell said on “CNN Newsroom.”
Blackwell paused during the segment for about 10 seconds as he held back tears.
“The president says about Congressman Cummings’s district, that no human would want to live there,” he said. “You know who did, Mr. President? I did. From the day I was brought home from the hospital to the day I left for college. And a lot of people I care about still do.”
Blackwell finished by noting that Baltimore is not alone in the challenges it faces. He added that the people living there were just as American as the people living in districts that voted for Trump.
Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisEric Holder to 2020 Democrats: ‘Be wary of attacking the Obama record’ The myth of health insurance choice These Democratic candidates should drop out now MORE (D-Calif.), who is running for president, praised Blackwell’s message Sunday, calling it “powerful.”
Democratic lawmakers have denounced Trump’s remarks about Cummings and Baltimore, calling them racist. The president has stood by his comments, arguing Cummings has done little for the people in his community.
He also dismissed charges of racism, saying earlier this week that he was “the least racist person there is anywhere in the world.”