President Donald Trump is making a habit of attacking specific U.S. cities as part of his 2020 reelection campaign.
At a raucous rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Thursday night, Trump continued to drag the city of Baltimore through the mud ― and extended his attacks to Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Trump claimed that Baltimore’s homicide rate was “significantly higher than El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala,” then asked his audience for more suggestions to embellish the comparison.
The president settled on one person’s suggestion and added Afghanistan as a nation with a lesser homicide rate than the Maryland city that he started targeting about a week ago. He also noted that he may be wrong, which he’ll be called out on by the media.
“We’ll check the numbers. And if we’re wrong they’ll tell us tomorrow,” he said. “It’ll be headlines, ‘Trump Exaggerated!’”
At one point, before protesters interrupted his speech, Trump also suggested that Democrats were at fault for murders in Chicago. And he blamed Democrats for the violence that plagues various urban areas, saying they “squeezed the blood” out of those places.
Trump also took aim at Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, a Democrat, assailing the state as he did earlier this month over its homelessness problem.
“Nearly half of all the homeless people living in the streets in America happen to live in the state of California,” Trump said. “Look at Los Angeles with the tents and the horrible, horrible disgusting conditions. Look at San Francisco.”
He went on to bash so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with Trump’s anti-immigrant policies. “Look at some of your other cities, and then you have a governor that invites the whole world to come into California,” he said.
The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., warmed up the rally crowd and echoed the attacks his father has been directing at Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat whose majority-black district includes much of Baltimore. As head of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cummings has emerged as a leading critic of Trump, especially the administration’s harsh treatment of migrants at the border with Mexico.
“Cummings has been there for 40 years,” Trump Jr. said, exaggerating the lawmaker’s time in office (Cumings was first elected to the House in 1996). Trump Jr. then rhetorically asked the crowd for “one measurement” that shows that Baltimore is “a brilliant success story.”
“I’m waiting … Not one. It doesn’t exist,” he said. “We keep re-electing Democrats. We keep saying this time it’s gonna be different. It’s never gonna be different if we want to fix these towns.”
Christopher Mathias contributed to this report.