News & Politics

FACT CHECK: Did Trump Call Baltimore Nothing But a 'Home For Rats'?

FACT CHECK: Did Trump Call Baltimore Nothing But a 'Home For Rats'?
Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., questions Attorney General nominee William Barr during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

At the second round of Democratic debates on Tuesday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) accused President Donald Trump of calling Baltimore “nothing but a home for rats.” While the president did call parts of the city “rodent infested,” a rodent infestation is not the same thing as saying a city is “nothing but a home for rats.”

“I don’t think anyone can justify what this president is doing. Little kids literally woke up this weekend, turned on the TV, and saw their president calling their city, the town of Baltimore, nothing more than a home for rats,” Klobuchar said.

The senator was referring to a set of notorious tweets in which Trump responded to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who had called Border Patrol a force of “child abuse.”

“As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded. Cummings’ 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,” Trump tweeted.

He went on to say that “no human being would want to live there.”

Conservatives tweeted video evidence, showing the sad state of West Baltimore.

CNN anchor Victor Blackwell suggested Trump’s use of the word “infested” was racist. But Trump was noting that rats are infesting Baltimore, not claiming that black Americans are doing the infesting.

A pest infestation does not make any homeowner less human, and it cannot make any city “nothing more than a home for rats.” Even Trump’s hyperbolic statement that “no human being would want to live there” does not mean the city is only fit to house rats.

Trump may have gone too far in his attacks on Cummings, but they were political attacks, not race-based ones. Furthermore, he did not use the word “infested” in a racist way and he did not minimize Baltimore to merely a rat’s dwelling. Klobuchar is off the mark, but she is par for the course when it comes to Democratic responses to Trump’s tweets.

The poverty of West Baltimore is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Instead, Democrats are shooting the messenger.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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