Jul 29, 2019

GOP Gov. Larry Hogan condemns Trump's Baltimore tweets as "outrageous"

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. Photo: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Maryland's Republican Gov. Larry Hogan condemned President Trump's attacks on Rep. Elijah Cummings' (D-Md.) Baltimore district on the C4 radio show Monday, calling the president's tweets "outrageous and inappropriate."

Catch up quick: Trump tweeted a series of attacks on Cummings in recent days that targeted Baltimore, calling it a "rodent infested mess" and a place "no human being would want to live." Politicians and members of the Baltimore community have hit back at Trump for his comments, which many have characterized as racist. The hashtag #WeAreBaltimore trended on Twitter this weekend, after a scathing op-ed by the Baltimore Sun slighted Trump with the headline: "Better to have a few rats than to be one."

What they're saying: Hogan, a popular Republican governor who at one point was viewed as a possible primary challenger to Trump, characterized the tweets as a distraction and argued that the focus should remain on substantive change "instead of who's tweeting what and who's calling who what kind of names."

"The irony is, you talk about the National Governors Association. I had just delivered a nationally televised address, on live TV, addressing the nation's governors, talking about this exact point. Talking about the angry and divisive politics that are literally tearing America apart. That the governors have found a better way to govern and move forward, but that Washington is just completely consumed with angry and divisive politics. ... And then 14 hours later we get this tweet that sets off another firestorm. ... It's like, enough is enough. People are just completely fed up with this kind of nonsense. Why are we not focused on solving the problems and getting to work?

Hogan also noted several initiatives, including $5 billion in funding and infrastructure projects, that his administration is working on to boost Baltimore's growth, adding: "We're doing a lot of things, but we sure could use some help from the White House and from the Congress."

The big picture: While Trump has argued that Cummings has not done enough for his district, many have pointed out that the president also has a responsibility to serve struggling American cities. He also recently went on a racist tirade against the "The Squad" for criticizing the U.S., but seemingly failed to see the irony in referring to an American city as a place that "no human being would want to live."

  • Of note: The Washington Post is also reporting that House Republicans have scheduled their yearly policy retreat at a hotel in downtown Baltimore in September. It is customary for presidents to speak at their party's retreats, which could "present an uncomfortable situation for Trump," the Post notes.

Go deeper: Trump's Baltimore attacks plant racial explosives in the urban-rural divide

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Trump plants racial explosives in the urban-rural divide

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump's onslaught of disparaging tweets calling Baltimore a "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" — and characterizing Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings as failing to fix it — extends Trump's streak of vilifying big American cities and adds a racial spin that scores points with parts of his base.

The big picture: Cities, particularly coastal ones, are Democratic strongholds that have been protesting Trump policies like immigration and health care since day one of his administration.

Go deeperArrowJul 29, 2019

Scoop: Trump considered declaring state of emergency in Baltimore

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

It isn't clear if there was a plan for last week. Some consequential things went down: The U.S. sanctioned Iran's top diplomat, revved up the trade war with China, and signed off on a spending bill that will spike the national debt. But all that got largely lost by the wayside as the president went to war with a Baltimore icon.

The big picture: Nobody knew it was coming, nobody knew how to handle it, and a week later, senior White House officials have their fingers crossed that the president won't turn their week upside-down once again with another tweet about a "Fox and Friends" segment. As the week has unfurled, people inside and outside the White House described to me how a few pokes of a keyboard by the leader of the free world sent some of Washington's most powerful political players scrambling for cover.

Go deeperArrowAug 4, 2019

National Cathedral: Trump's tweets give cover to white supremacists

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Washington National Cathedral's leaders said Tuesday that President Trump uses "dangerous" and "violent dehumanizing words" to attack minority lawmakers and the city of Baltimore — warning that "violent words lead to violent actions."

"[T]hey are a clarion call, and give cover, to white supremacists who consider people of color a sub-human 'infestation' in America. They serve as a call to action from those people to keep America great by ridding it of such infestation."
— Statement by Washington National Cathedral leaders
Go deeperArrowJul 31, 2019