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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."

Go deeper

46 mins ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia structures in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden's big Saudi reset

Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Ryad Kramdi/AFP via Getty

President Biden spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman this evening ahead of the release of a CIA report expected to implicate the king's son, and the kingdom's de facto ruler, in the murder of a U.S.-based journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

Why it matters: In one month, Biden has ended support for the Saudi war effort in Yemen, frozen a large arms deal and snubbed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) by declining to speak with him directly.