[guest post by Dana]
Here’s what President Trump said when asked by a reporter about his attacks on Elijah Cummings:
“There’s no strategy. I have no strategy. There’s zero strategy,” Trump said upon returning to the White House from a trip to Jamestown, Va.
“All it is is I’m pointing out facts,” he added. “The most unsafe city in our country is Baltimore.”
He repeated his assertion that Cummings, who represents parts of Baltimore, should use his power as House Oversight and Reform chairman to investigate the city’s use of federal funds.
Asked why he has focused his rage on Cummings instead of local leaders over the plight of Baltimore, Trump initially denied he was angry but later chastised the lawmaker for his fierce criticism of conditions at the southern border.
“I’m just telling you the facts,” Trump said. “I’m not angry at anybody. I’m just saying Elijah Cummings has been there for 26 years … he’s seen these mayors get thrown out, thrown out, thrown out. They’re all friends of his.”
And while an official in the administration echoed the president in saying that his attacks on Cummings aren’t part of a larger strategy, one wonders. Maybe it isn’t yet, but it’s easy to see it becoming just that:
Trump has said in the past day that he thinks his messaging about inner-cities is resonating and doesn’t appear swayed by the concerns of his advisers.
Trump claimed Tuesday morning while speaking to reporters that he was “helping himself” with voters when whether he feels he is alienating moderates with his tweets.
“No, I think I’m helping myself because I’m pointing out the tremendous corruption,” he said before departing the White House.
In spite of his attacks on Elijah Cummings, Trump insisted that he has received phone calls from a lot of African-Americans praising him for his comments on Baltimore:
“I’ve received more phone calls than I think on any other subject of people from Baltimore and other cities corruptly run by Democrats, thanking me for getting involved,” Trump told reporters outside the White House.
“Those people are living in hell in Baltimore. They’re largely African American,” he said. “You have a large African American population, and they really appreciate what I’m doing. And they’ve let me know it. They really appreciate it.”The president asserted again on Tuesday afternoon that he’d heard from “many” African Americans who called to thank him for bringing attention to Baltimore, but did not elaborate further.
Additionally, the president blamed “fake news” for a new Quinnipiac University poll that found 80 percent of black voters believe he is racist:
If the news reported it properly of all of the things I’ve done for African Americans… I think I’d do very well with the African Americans,” Trump said. “And I think I’m doing very well right now.”
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)