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 TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest 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 SandersSanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest Krystal Ball tears into 'Never Trump' Republicans 2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum 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 BarrClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Democrats to seek ways to compel release of Trump whistleblower complaint Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt MORE and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Senate Democrats accuse administration of burying climate change reports Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt 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