Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday it is “unbelievable” President Donald Trump attacks Americans and US cities after Trump tweeted Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings’ Baltimore district is a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
“It’s unbelievable that we have a President of the United States who attacks American cities, who attacks Americans,” the Vermont senator told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union,” in an exclusive interview hosted from Detroit, Michigan.
Trump on Saturday suggested conditions in Cummings’ district, which is majority black and includes parts of Baltimore, are “FAR WORSE and more dangerous” than those at the US-Mexico border. He continued his attacks into Sunday, tweeting that “Elijah Cummings has failed badly!” also taking aim at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco district. Pelosi previously condemned Trump’s tweets on Cummings as racist attacks.
Cummings, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, responded on Twitter Saturday by saying, “Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors. It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”
Sanders called Cummings “one of the most decent and outstanding members of the House of Representatives.”
“Our job is to bring people together, to improve life for all people, not to be, have a racist President who attacks people because they are African Americans. That is a disgrace and that is why we’re going to defeat this President,” the 2020 Democratic candidate told Tapper.
Trump’s tweets were the latest verbal assault against a minority member of Congress who is a frequent critic of the President. Two weekends ago, Trump – in racist language that was later condemned by a House resolution – told four progressive Democratic congresswomen of color to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
On “State of the Union” later Sunday, Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib told Tapper that Trump “has a hate agenda.”
Tlaib – one of the four minority congresswomen previously attacked by Trump – added that the President “doesn’t have a policy agenda, and that’s what he falls down on.”
“This hate agenda is now seeping into policy making,” she said, citing deregulations in the US Environmental Protection Agency. The lawmaker said she hears “constantly” from her constituents, who say, “We have a right to breathe clean air, there’s something going on here, we don’t feel like our government is protecting us.”
Still, while Cummings, Baltimore’s leaders and residents were quick to defend the city and Democratic lawmakers swiftly denounced the President’s remarks, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defended Trump’s attacks on Cummings’ district.
The President, Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday,” was going after Cummings over the Democrat’s statements about the situation at the southern border, adding: “It has absolutely zero to do with race.”
CNN’s Sarah Westwood and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.