President Trump said Monday that Democrats blasting him for decrying conditions in Baltimore should also label Sen. Bernie Sanders “a racist” for calling Baltimore a “Third World country” and a "disgrace" in 2015 if they want to be consistent.
“Crazy Bernie Sanders recently equated the City of Baltimore to a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY! Based on that statement, I assume that Bernie must now be labeled a Racist, just as a Republican would if he used that term and standard!” Trump tweeted.
“The fact is, Baltimore can be brought back, maybe even to new heights of success and glory, but not with King Elijah and that crew,” Trump continued. “When the leaders of Baltimore want to see the City rise again, I am in a very beautiful oval shaped office waiting for your call!”
The president was referring to comments Sanders, I-Vt., made in December 2015. Sanders, who at the time was a top Democratic primary candidate, took his own shots at Baltimore.
“Anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think you’re in a wealthy nation,” Sanders said during a visit to the city’s West Baltimore section in 2015, the Baltimore Sun reported. “You would think that you were in a Third World country.”
Sanders also referred to Baltimore as “a community in which half of the people don’t have jobs.”
"Anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think you’re in a wealthy nation…You would think that you were in a Third World country."
— Sen. Bernie Sanders to The Baltimore Sun in Dec. 2015
“We’re talking about a community in which there are hundreds of buildings that are uninhabitable,” he added, according to the Sun.
Sanders was visiting the section of Baltimore where a 25-year-old black man named Freddie Gray was arrested earlier that year for allegedly possessing an illegal knife. Gray fell into a coma while in police custody and died a few days later, sparking a national outcry against members of the city’s police department.
But all six police officers who were suspended in connection with the death either had all charges against them dropped, or were acquitted.
In 2016, Sanders tweeted about Baltimore saying: “Residents of Baltimore’s poorest boroughs have lifespans shorter than people living under dictatorship in North Korea. That is a disgrace.”
Sanders’ comments resurfaced amid a controversy between Trump and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who represents Baltimore.
Trump described Cummings’ district as “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 tweeted over the weekend.
Days later, he asked: “Where is all this money going?” referring to federal funds sent to the city.
“How much is stolen? Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!
Prominent Democrats—including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who was born in Baltimore, and 2020 presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., rallied to Cummings’ defense.
But Sanders, on Saturday, appeared to abandon his past critiques of Baltimore, and shifted his focus to bashing the president.
“Here’s what’s really going on,” Sanders tweeted. “@RepCummings has been busy revealing the failures of the Trump administration and exposing the greed of Trump’s friends in the pharmaceutical industry, and our racist president doesn’t like it.”