On Saturday, Donald Trump tweeted out his latest tirade that targeted the city of Baltimore and Congressman Elijah Cummings.
In his tweets, he called out Cummings for being vocal about poor conditions at the border and the treatment of detained immigrants.
Trump tells Cummings that he should turn his attention to his own district, which includes Baltimore, instead of making noise about the border.
“Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” he tweeted. “If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place.”
In response to the racist tweets, CNN morning anchor Victor Blackwell dedicated a segment to dissecting the rhetorical use of the word “infested.”
“Infested. That’s usually reserved for references to rodents and insects but we’ve seen the president invoke infestation to criticize lawmakers before,” Blackwell said, pointing out that the word was also used two weeks ago in an attack against four freshman congresswoman.
“When he tweets infestation, it’s about Black and Brown people,” he said.
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A Baltimore native himself, Blackwell fought hard to stay calm during his segment, but eventually, his eyes swelled up with tears while defending his hometown to T.V. audience.
Blackwell’s voice cracked with raw emotion as he shared that he was born and raised in Baltimore until the day he went to college. He said much of his loved ones still live there today.
“There are challenges no doubt, but people are proud of their community,” Blackwell said. “I don’t want to sound self-righteous, but people get up and go to work there. They care for their families there. They love their children who pledge allegiance to the flag just like people who live in districts of congressmen who support you, sir. They are Americans, too.”
A Baltimore Sun article written by media critic David Zurawik concluded that the tweets were simply undiluted racism and hate.
“I think I do not have a drop of vitriol left for Trump and what he’s doing to this country,” Zurawik wrote.
“I applaud Blackwell for his passionate response. This is one way the media can and should push back against the pain this president causes with his reckless, mean and racist use of social media.”
Trump is in full campaign mode as of late. His racist tweets seem to double as a call to arms to the same demographics that got him elected in 2016. The overt racism is triggering but not a surprise.
“Most of us want to believe that we are better than the ugly and unmitigated racism the president has shown through tweets like those of today,” Zurawik wrote.
“And yet, here we are today with a president using social media and the great power of his office to try to bend back the arc of justice and bring the nation to a state of global disgrace.”