Former Virginia deputy AG: Trump's Twitter attacks a 'distraction' from 'substantive' critiques

A former deputy attorney general for Virginia on Monday criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE’s attacks on Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsFederal agency to resume processing some deferred-action requests for migrants Overnight Defense: Trump says he has 'many options' on Iran | Hostage negotiator chosen for national security adviser | Senate Dems block funding bill | Documents show Pentagon spent at least 4K at Trump's Scotland resort Top Oversight Democrat demands immigration brass testify MORE (D-Md.) and the city of Baltimore, among other liberal lawmakers and public figures.

Stephen Cobb, who also served in the Obama administration, said that the president uses the broadsides as a “distraction” from “substantive” critiques of his administration, noting that the attacks took place just days after former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation MORE’s marathon testimony before lawmakers.

“I’m not surprised after a week that was focused on a Mueller report that he goes off the deep end on personal attacks,” Cobb told Hill.TV.

“There’s a difference between saying, ‘there’s areas here where we can make improvements and here are my ideas’ as opposed to going on ad hominem ranting,” he added.

Trump sent more than a dozen tweets criticizing Cummings and the city of Baltimore over the weekend.

The president described the country’s 30th largest city as a “very dangerous & fitly place” where "no human being would want to live.”

He also called Cummings — who is black and the son of sharecroppers in South Carolina — a “racist.”

"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!" Trump tweeted Sunday.

Cummings rejected Trump’s initial wave of insults, saying he is merely exercising his constitutional duty to conduct oversight over the executive branch.

"Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors," Cummings tweeted. "It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents."

Still, by Monday morning, Trump stepped up these attacks and went on to target Al Sharpton and presidential candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Krystal Ball calls on Sanders to follow Yang's lead on war on drugs Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all MORE (I-Vt.).

"Baltimore, under the leadership of Elijah Cummings, has the worst Crime Statistics in the Nation. 25 years of all talk, no action! So tired of listening to the same old Bull," the president tweeted.

Cummings serves as chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which has pursued a number investigations into the Trump administration.

A day after Mueller’s public testimony, the Oversight panel voted to hold Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrDemocrats to seek ways to compel release of Trump whistleblower complaint Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt The Hill's 12:30 Report: Questions swirl around Trump whistleblower complaint MORE and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossDemocrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt State Department orders expulsion of two members of Cuba's UN mission over 'influence operations' Overnight Energy: Top presidential candidates to skip second climate forum | Group sues for info on 'attempts to politicize' NOAA | Trump allows use of oil reserve after Saudi attacks MORE in contempt for defying subpoenas.

Trump’s attacks on Cummings mark the second time he has targeted a minority Democratic lawmaker in less than month. The president earlier in July received backlash for telling four progressive lawmakers — all women of color — to go back to where they come from, even though they are all U.S. citizens and only one was born outside of the country.

—Tess Bonn