Trump Says Elijah Cummings Should Say 'Thank You, Mr. President' for Low African American Unemployment Rate

After President Donald Trump faced widespread backlash for attacking Congressman Elijah Cummings and his home district of Baltimore district this weekend, the president on Sunday continued to assert he was in the right. Not only did Trump call the Democratic lawmaker a "racist," he argued that Cummings should be saying, "Thank you, Mr. President," for the low African American unemployment rate across America.

"There is nothing racist in stating plainly what most people already know, that Elijah Cummings has done a terrible job for the people of his district, and of Baltimore itself. Dems always play the race card when they are unable to win with facts. Shame!," Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon, as the backlash to his comments continued to grow.

"If racist Elijah Cummings would focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district, and Baltimore itself, perhaps progress could be made in fixing the mess that he has helped to create over many years of incompetent leadership," the president continued in a series of tweets, adding that Cummings' "'oversight' is a joke!"

Cummings is chair of the House Oversight Committee, which has investigative authority has heavily scrutinized the Trump administration since Democrats regained control of Congress's lower chamber earlier this year.

Trump went on to brag about how the African American unemployment rate is the "lowest (best) in the history" of the United States "under the Trump administration."

"No President has come close to doing this before! I also created successful Opportunity Zones," he added. "Waiting for Nancy and Elijah to say, 'Thank you, Mr. President!'"

The president's remarks came one day after he began his attack on Cummings with a series of tweets on Saturday morning. "Cumming [sic] 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 wrote. "No human being would want to live there."

Cummings, officials from Baltimore and Democratic leaders quickly moved to condemn Trump's remarks on Saturday afternoon, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling the president's attacks "racist."

"Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors," Cummings tweeted in response on Saturday. "It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents."

The Baltimore Sun editorial board penned an op-ed — titled "Better to have a few rats than to be one" — criticizing Trump for "attacking an African American lawmaker from a majority black district on the most emotional and bigoted of arguments."

We "would above all remind Mr. Trump that the 7th District, Baltimore included, is part of the United States that he is supposedly governing," the Sun's editors wrote. The president is "still not fooling most Americans into believing he's even slightly competent in his current post."

The Sun editors also called Trump "the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women's private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are 'good people' among murderous neo-Nazis."

Baltimore Mayor Bernard "Jack" Young also strongly rebuked Trump's attacks. "It's completely unacceptable for the political leader of our country to denigrate a vibrant American City like Baltimore, and to viciously attack U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings a patriot and a hero," Young said in a statement shared on Twitter. "Mr. Trump, you are a disappointment to the people of Baltimore, our country, and to the world."

Despite the mounting criticism, Trump continued his rant about Cummings and his "very dangerous and very badly run district" later on Saturday afternoon.

Following his remarks, tens of thousands of social media users defended Cummings and the city of Baltimore by using the hashtag #WeAreBaltimore, which became the top trending term on U.S. Twitter on Saturday evening.

By Sunday afternoon, a hashtag that was even more critical of the president took hold on Twitter, with a large number of users deploying the #TrumpIsARat tag in an attempt to flip the president's vermin-themed attacks back toward the White House. The tag appeared to have been inspired by the Sun editorial, which was titled "Better to Have a Few Rats Than to be One," and included the line, "Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one."

Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the press during a signing of a “safe third country” agreement in the Oval Office of the White House July 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump on Sunday doubled down on his attacks against Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings. Alex Wong/Getty