Rep. Cum­mings: ‘I’d be happy to have him’

Con­gress­man in­vites Pres­i­dent Trump to Bal­ti­more

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NEWS - By Lil­lian Reed

Af­ter a week of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump lev­el­ing crit­i­cisms at Bal­ti­more and U.S. Rep. Eli­jah Cum­mings of Mary­land, the con­gress­man said he would wel­come the pres­i­dent to come visit.

“I’d love for him to sit down and talk to the doc­tors at Johns Hop­kins and Univer­sity of Mary­land and see the beau­ti­ful neigh­bor­hoods of our city, and I’d be happy to have him,” Cum­mings said at a com­mu­nity event Satur­day near his Bal­ti­more home.

The Repub­li­can pres­i­dent sparked a sharp re­ac­tion from many Bal­ti­more res­i­dents and po­lit­i­cal fig­ures when he tweeted July 27 that Bal­ti­more was a “rat and ro­dent in­fested mess.” He con­tin­ued for sev­eral days to tweet crit­i­cisms of Cum­mings, call­ing the Demo­crat “racist” and claim­ing falsely that Bal­ti­more’s “cor­rupt govern­ment” had stolen bil­lions from U.S. sup­port sent to cities.

Cum­mings spoke to re­porters about the in­ci­dent for the first time Satur­day at a rib­bon-cut­ting for a com­mu­nity park in the 1900 block of McCul­lough St., sev­eral blocks from his Druid Heights home.

“When I hear crit­i­cism by any­body about my city, I think the thing that both­ers me most is that we have a sit­u­a­tion where there are folks who are step­ping on ... the hope of our chil­dren,” Cum­mings said. “I don’t know what I would have done if I had peo­ple in high places when I was a lit­tle boy telling me what I could do. In­stead, I had peo­ple telling me what I could do.”

The con­gress­man de­scribed res­i­dents of his 7th con­gres­sional district as a “strong peo­ple” and said he did not have time for peo­ple who “want to trash our city.”

“You’ll see peo­ple [and] or­ga­ni­za­tions that have come to the in­ner city of Bal­ti­more, like in neigh­bor­hoods like this, and did not go around crit­i­ciz­ing, but said, ‘How can we help?’” Cum­mings said.

Cum­mings went on to in­vite oth­ers to visit Bal­ti­more.

“Come to Bal­ti­more — do not just crit­i­cize us,” he said. “Come to Bal­ti­more and I prom­ise you, you will be wel­comed. I prom­ise you we will give you ev­ery bit of hos­pi­tal­ity we’ve got.”

Ev­ery time a vis­i­tor spends a few dol­lars in a ho­tel, Cum­mings said, “that means some­body in this neigh­bor­hood is work­ing. It gives them a job. It gives them hope.”

Trump at­tacked the ma­jor­ity-black city of Bal­ti­more for nearly a week as part of his tirade against Cum­mings.

Cum­mings’ House Com­mit­tee on Over­sight and Re­form has voted to sub­poena se­nior White House of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kush­ner, for their com­mu­ni­ca­tions via pri­vate email accounts and mes­sag­ing apps.

Last month, Cum­mings strongly crit­i­cized Kevin McAleenan, head of the U.S. De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, for the liv­ing con­di­tions of child mi­grants at the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der.

The pres­i­dent’s com­ments on Bal­ti­more be­came a punch­line in his Thurs­day cam­paign rally in Cincin­nati. Trump appeared to muse sar­cas­ti­cally that the homi­cide rate in Bal­ti­more was sig­nif­i­cantly higher than that of sev­eral coun­tries.

And Fri­day, af­ter Cum­mings said he scared away an in­truder who re­cently broke into his Bal­ti­more home, Trump al­luded to the in­ci­dent in tweet­ing, “Re­ally bad news! The Bal­ti­more house of Eli­jah Cum­mings was robbed. Too bad!”

Cum­mings said Satur­day that he saw a man try­ing to break into his home early on July 27 and hollered, scar­ing him away. The would-be in­truder didn’t get into the res­i­den­tial por­tion of Cum­mings’ home, he said.

Asked what he thought of Trump’s tweet about the in­ci­dent, the con­gress­man said “I’m not go­ing to go there.”

“I mean, I’m too busy do­ing the work of my peo­ple,” he said. “This is where I live.”


U.S Rep. Eli­jah Cum­mings (D-Md.) talks about Bal­ti­more at the grand open­ing of the McCul­lough Street Na­ture Play Space on Satur­day.


Cam­eras record U.S. Rep. Eli­jah Cum­mings speak­ing at the grand open­ing of the McCul­lough Street Na­ture Play Space on Satur­day in West Bal­ti­more.

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