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Trump spends weekend lashing out at Cummings

President TrumpDonald TrumpProsecutors focus Trump Organization probe on company's financial officer: report WHO official says it's 'premature' to think pandemic will be over by end of year Romney released from hospital after fall over the weekend MORE spent the weekend excoriating Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsBottom line House Democrats reintroduce bill to reduce lobbyist influence Trump voters and progressives have a lot in common — and Biden can unite them MORE (D-Md.), inflaming racial tensions once again by taking aim at a top African American Democratic lawmaker and parts of the majority-black district he represents.

The president on Saturday and Sunday sent more than a dozen tweets assailing Cummings and the city of Baltimore. The weekend started with Trump describing the country's 30th-largest city and surrounding areas as a "very dangerous & filthy place" where "no human being would want to live," and it ended with Trump calling Cummings — the son of sharecroppers in South Carolina — a "racist."

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It marked the second time in three weeks that Trump targeted a prominent minority Democratic lawmaker and in many ways mirrored how his attacks on Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezBiden officials urge patience on immigration amid border surge Clinton: Allegations against Cuomo 'raise serious questions,' deserve probe Ocasio-Cortez: wage only 'socialist' to those in 'dystopian capitalist nightmare' MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarProgressives push White House to overturn wage ruling Mehdi Hasan gets MSNBC Sunday prime-time show Six ways to visualize a divided America MORE (D-Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibProgressives push White House to overturn wage ruling Six ways to visualize a divided America Jamaal Bowman's mother dies of COVID-19: 'I share her legacy with all of you' MORE (D-Minn.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyPressley says image of Black custodial staff cleaning up Capitol after Jan. 6 riot 'haunts' her DeJoy apologizes for mail delays while defending Postal Service changes DeJoy set for grilling by House Oversight panel MORE (D-Mass.) played out.

In targeting Cummings, the president went after a well-respected, 13-term congressman who leads one of the committees leading investigations into his administration.

Trump launched the first of what would be several broadsides against Cummings on Saturday morning. The president may have been agitated by Cummings's resolve to pursue oversight or set off by a Fox News segment that aired Saturday morning that included footage of Cummings's district, which encompasses parts of the city of Baltimore as well as suburban and rural areas.

Trump decried Cummings as a "brutal bully" for his fierce critiques of conditions at the southern border and suggested Baltimore "is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His district is considered the Worst in the USA."

"As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded," Trump continued. "Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place."

With Cummings as chairman, the House Oversight and Reform Committee has voted to hold Attorney General William BarrBill BarrMajority of Republicans say 2020 election was invalid: poll Biden administration withdraws from Connecticut transgender athlete case Justice Department renews investigation into George Floyd's death: report MORE and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossFormer Trump officials find tough job market On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE in contempt for defying subpoenas; heard testimony from former Trump attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenThe Memo: Trump faces deepening legal troubles Trump lashes out after Supreme Court decision on his financial records Supreme Court declines to shield Trump's tax returns from Manhattan DA MORE; held a hearing on conditions at the southern border; and authorized a subpoena for official communications from senior White House advisers Ivanka TrumpIvanka TrumpTrump Jr. was deposed in inauguration funds probe Former Trump officials eye bids for political office The Hill's Morning Report - Disaster politics hobble Cruz, Cuomo MORE and Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerBiden to speak with Saudi king 'soon' as pressure builds for Khashoggi report Biden to speak with Saudi king ahead of Khashoggi report: report Former Trump officials eye bids for political office MORE.

In a press conference after former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE's testimony, Cummings pledged that he could continue to hold Trump accountable despite resistance from the administration, arguing the future of the government was at stake.

"We refuse to betray generations yet unborn and the American people," Cummings said alongside Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRepublican Ohio Senate candidate calls on GOP rep to resign over impeachment vote Clinton, Pelosi holding online Women's Day fundraiser with Chrissy Teigen, Amanda Gorman What good are the intelligence committees? MORE (D-Calif.) and other committee chairmen. "We’re not going to betray them."

"We’re going to do our part to make sure that we have a democracy that’s intact," he added.

Trump, who spent part of his weekend at his Virginia golf club, fired back at Cummings with a barrage of tweets chastising him and the city of Baltimore.

"Why is so much money sent to the Elijah Cummings district when it is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States," Trump tweeted Saturday morning. "No human being would want to live there."

The president quote-tweeted multiple videos that purported to show abandoned homes in Cummings's district used as dumping grounds for trash. In each case, Trump blamed the congressman for the images.

In one case, he retweeted far-right British commentator Katie Hopkins, who described Baltimore as a "proper sh*thole."

"So sad that Elijah Cummings has been able to do so little for the people of Baltimore," Trump tweeted Saturday. "Statistically, Baltimore ranks last in almost every major category. Cummings has done nothing but milk Baltimore dry, but the public is getting wise to the bad job that he is doing!"

Cummings responded to Trump's initial wave of insults on Saturday morning by rejecting the criticisms and urging the president to work on a bipartisan basis.

"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."

Democrats rallied around Cummings to denounce the tweets as racist and condemn Trump's open disdain for a major U.S. city.

"It's unbelievable that we have a president of the United States who attacks American cities, who attacks Americans, who attacks somebody who is a friend of mine," Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money: Senators push for changes as chamber nears vote on .9T relief bill | Warren offers bill to create wealth tax Sanders vows to force vote on minimum wage No. 2 Senate Democrat shoots down overruling parliamentarian on minimum wage MORE (I-Vt.) said Sunday on CNN.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerJim Jordan calls for House Judiciary hearing on 'cancel culture' House Judiciary split on how to address domestic extremism George Floyd police reform bill reintroduced in House MORE (D-N.Y.) called the president's tweet suggesting money was being stolen from Cummings's district "disgusting and racist."

Pelosi rejected Trump's tweets as "racist" and hailed Cummings as "a champion in the Congress and the country for civil rights and economic justice, a beloved leader in Baltimore, and deeply valued colleague."

But Trump and his allies were quick to accuse Democrats of overusing allegations of racism and suggested criticism of Cummings and his district was fair.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyOMB nominee gets hearing on Feb. 9 Republicans now 'shocked, shocked' that there's a deficit Financial firms brace for Biden's consumer agency chief MORE said on "Face the Nation" that he understood why some might view the tweets as racist, "but that doesn't mean it's racist."

"The President is pushing back against what he sees as wrong," Mulvaney said. "It's how he's done in the past and he'll continue to do in the future."

Trump was more forceful in his rebuttal to charges of racism.

"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," Trump tweeted Sunday. "Dems always play the race card when they are unable to win with facts."

Within an hour, Trump sent a follow-up tweet calling Cummings a racist and deriding his "radical 'oversight'" as "a joke."

The sequence of events played out in nearly identical fashion to the president's attacks on the self-styled "squad" of Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib and Pressley.

Two weeks ago, Trump set off a firestorm by tweeting that the four minority Democrats should "go back" to their countries and "help fix the totally broken crime infested places from which they came." 

All four are U.S. citizens, and only Omar, a Somali refugee, was not born in the country. The House later voted to condemn Trump's "racist comments," while the president tweeted that he does not have a "racist bone" in his body.

But Trump's attack steadily escalated, accusing the four congresswomen of hating the country. It culminated in incendiary fashion with a rally crowd chanting "send her back" about Omar and with Trump calling the group "a very Racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart."

While Trump made clear he views tying the broader Democratic Party to four of its most progressive lawmakers as politically advantageous, it's less clear how the president will benefit from picking on a well-liked and more moderate representative such as Cummings, who has spoken of his friendship with close Trump ally Rep. Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsHow scientists saved Trump's FDA from politics Liberals howl after Democrats cave on witnesses Kinzinger calls for people with info on Trump to come forward MORE (R-N.C.).

The president suggested that his support won't suffer for the attacks and that it might even receive a boost. He relied, as he often does, on statistics showing African American unemployment declining under his administration.

In one instance, he closed a tweet with the hashtag #BlacksForTrump2020, and in another, he referenced opportunity zones developed through tax reform legislation passed in 2017.

"Waiting for Nancy and Elijah to say, 'Thank you, Mr. President!'" Trump tweeted Sunday.