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Mulvaney defends Trump's use of "infested" to attack Elijah Cummings

White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney argued on "Fox News Sunday" that President Trump's use of "infested" to attack Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) has "nothing to do with race."

MULVANEY: "Does anyone watching this program dispute the fact or the possibility that if Adam Schiff said the same thing about the border, that the president would be attacking Adam Schiff the exact same way today?"
CHRIS WALLACE: "I don't think he would be talking about his crime-infested, rodent-infested district."
MULVANEY: "He very well could. It has zero to do with the fact that Adam is Jewish and everything to do with the fact that Adam would just be wrong for saying that. This is what the president does. He fights, and he's not wrong to do so."
WALLACE: "You're completely comfortable with him saying that this is a rodent-infested district and no human being would want to live there? You're comfortable with that personally?"
MULVANEY: "Have you seen some of the pictures on the internet? Just this morning from the conditions in Baltimore?"
WALLACE: "You can do that in any inner city in America. And you could argue why doesn't the president do something to stop it?"
MULVANEY: "The richest state in the nation has abject poverty like that. A state, by the way, dominated for generations by Democrats. I think it's fair to have that conversation.

Why it matters: As CNN anchor Victor Blackwell pointed out in an emotional response to Trump's attacks this weekend, Trump has a long record of using the word "infested" to attack places in which the majority of occupants are people of color.

  • On Rep. Elijah Cummings: "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."
  • On Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley: "Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."
  • On Rep. John Lewis: "Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested)"
  • On Africa: "Why are we sending thousands of ill-trained soldiers into Ebola-infested areas of Africa! Bring the plague back to U.S.? Obama is so stupid."
  • On California: "There is a Revolution going on in California. Soooo many Sanctuary areas want OUT of this ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept."