Trump calls Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings 'racist' after branding his district as 'infested'Donald Trump called Elijah Cummings a “racist” on Sunday after describing the senior Democratic congressman of colour’s district as a “rat and rodent infested mess”.“If racist Elijah Cummings would focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district, and Baltimore itself, perhaps progress could be made in fixing the mess that he has helped to create over many years of incompetent leadership,” the president wrote on Twitter. “His radical ‘oversight’ is a joke!”Mr Trump continued escalating his attacks over the weekend against Mr Cummings, going so far as to retweet a reportedly Islamaophobic activist who described the congressman’s majority-black city of Baltimore as a “s***hole”.The president also attempted to defend himself in the wake of growing backlash for his incendiary comments, writing in a separate tweet, “There is nothing racist in stating plainly what most people already know, that Elijah Cummings has done a terrible job for the people of his district, and of Baltimore itself.” But he could not push back the growing tide of anger felt nationwide for launching attacks at a growing list of minority politicians and frequently using the term "infested" to describe places with predominantly populations like Baltimore and African countries. Earlier this month, Mr Trump hurled insults online at four Democratic congresswomen of colour who he told to "go back" to their countries, despite all but one having been born in the United States. The tweets reflected a racist trope well-known to the country's citizens of colour, who recalled their own experiences of being told to go back to where they came from after the president's tweets. Top Democrats on Capitol Hill have rebuked the president's latest "racist attacks" against Mr Cummings. > If racist Elijah Cummings would focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district, and Baltimore itself, perhaps progress could be made in fixing the mess that he has helped to create over many years of incompetent leadership. His radical “oversight” is a joke!> > — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) > > July 28, 2019Mr Cummings "is a champion in the Congress and the country for civil rights and economic justice, a beloved leader in Baltimore, and deeply valued colleague," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a tweet. "We all reject racist attacks against him and support his steadfast leadership," she wrote, adding the hashtag ElijahCummingsIsAPatriot.More follows...
As the prospect of a push in congress for his impeachment grows, the US president’s tirade comes after a US House judiciary committee asked a judge to force the release of grand jury evidence from the special counsel's wide-ranging probe.
The request, filed on Friday, explicitly referenced congress’ impeachment powers and is a major step forward in the Democrats' legal fight against Mr Trump.
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Meanwhile, California Governor Gavin Newsom is reportedly on the verge of a move that could force Mr Trump to release his tax returns if he wants to appear on the state’s ballot in the 2020 elections.
Earlier on Saturday, Mr Trump was widely-criticised for a series of tweets accusing Democratic congressman Elijah Cumming of being a “brutal bully” from a “rat-infested district”.
The attacks appeared to have been inspired by a Fox & Friends report that aired minutes before the president’s outburst, which criticised living conditions in Mr Cummings’ district.
Nancy Pelosi led Democratic representatives in defending Mr Cummings, accusing the US president of “racist attacks”.