Cummings urges Trump to ‘come to Baltimore’ | TribLIVE.com
Politics Election

Cummings urges Trump to ‘come to Baltimore’

Associated Press
1499096_web1_1499096-b4c62b487b0b4dc58d5414f5db6475cf
The Baltimore Sun via AP
Congressman Elijah Cummings speaks at the grand opening of the McCullough Street Nature Play Space in West Baltimore on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Cummings on Saturday invited President Donald Trump and other Americans to Baltimore, taking the high road after a barrage of presidential tweets disparaging the black-majority city and its long-serving Democratic congressman.
1499096_web1_1499096-cfa1a5f4b08f481db293d8eefc645595
The Baltimore Sun via AP
Congressman Elijah Cummings walks to his car after speaking about Baltimore at the grand opening of the McCullough Street Nature Play Space in West Baltimore on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019.
1499096_web1_1499096-fab0aa80e35e497a83832a25e46b4502
The Baltimore Sun via AP
Congressman Elijah Cummings speaks at the grand opening of the McCullough Street Nature Play Space in West Baltimore on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019.

BALTIMORE — Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings took the high road in inviting President Donald Trump and other Americans to visit Baltimore but declining to respond in kind to the barrage of presidential tweets and comments disparaging him and the majority-black city he has long represented.

“We are a great community,” Cummings, the chairman of a powerful House committee investigating the administration, said Saturday in his first public remarks about the controversy as he participated in the opening of a small neighborhood park near his home.

Community leaders and residents gathered to cut the ribbon on a pocket of greenery and flowers, built from what had been a vacant lot often used as a dumping ground for trash.

“Come to Baltimore. Do not just criticize us, but come to Baltimore and I promise you, you will be welcomed,” he said.

Cummings said he doesn’t have time for those who criticize the city where he grew up but wants to hear from people willing to help make the community better. He noted the outpouring of support he has received, the thousands of emails, and the presence at the event of leaders from the University of Maryland’s medical center, foundations and businesses. He wore a hat and polo shirt of Under Armour, the popular apparel maker headquartered in Baltimore.

Asked directly by reporters afterward if there would be a meeting with Trump, the congressman said he’d love to see Trump in the city.

“The president is welcome to our district,” he said.

In a weeklong series of attacks, Trump called the Baltimore district a “rat and rodent infested mess” and complained about Cummings, whose district includes key parts of the city.

The president widened his attack on other cities he did not name but complained are run by Democrats. His comments were widely seen as a race-centered attack on big cities with minority populations.

Cummings’ comments Saturday came at another pivotal juncture for the administration, as half of House Democrats now say they favor launching an impeachment inquiry against Trump. It’s a threshold that pushes renewed focus on the issue, even though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has declined to move ahead with proceedings unless there is a greater groundswell, including in public opinion.

Cummings, whose Oversight and Reform Committee is one of the six House committees investigating the Trump administration, said Saturday he was not yet ready to support impeachment.

“There may well come a time when impeachment is appropriate,” he told reporters. But for now, he said, he agrees with Pelosi’s approach and said that his committee would continue its investigations. “I’m trying to be fair to him,” he said. “That’s why we need to do our research.”

Under sunny skies, with a light breeze, the neighborhood situated in a historic part of West Baltimore offered another view of a city that struggled long before Trump’s disparaging tweets, a once-gilded American seaport now confronted with other problems.

Leaders from the community spoke of the region’s historic segregation in housing and how that legacy impacted neighborhoods.

Cummings recounted the city’s famous residents, including the late Thurgood Marshall, a justice of the Supreme Court, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, a noted black scholar who testified recently in Congress on reparations for slavery. The congressman also gave a nod to his own family’s history, his parents arriving from a Southern state to build a better life for their children, and his ascent from the community to law school and the halls of Congress for two decades.

To residents, especially young people, he said, “Let no one define you.”

Residents said they were heartened by the attention being paid to Baltimore, and they too urged the White House to consider the way the president’s comments may land in a community.

Jackie Cornish, a founder of the Druid Heights community development corporation more than 40 years ago, said she hoped Trump and Cummings could put their collective power together and work for the good of the city. While she feels the president has “disrespected our congressman as well as disrespected our city,” she also said: “We still respect our president. As long as he’s president, we’re trying to lift him up.”

Amos Gaskins, who lives across the street from the park and stepped out to greet Cummings, said the congressman has been through a lot and added, “He’s doing a great job, a beautiful job.”

“We’re not what you call a dirty city and a dirty people,” Gaskins said. “Donald Trump shouldn’t have said that. That’s uncalled for.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.