Trump: Response to Cummings burglary 'not meant as a wise-guy tweet'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNYT publisher: US didn't step in to protect reporter from arrest in Egypt so paper turned to Ireland Trump instructed administration to withhold military aid for Ukraine days before call with president: report More Democrats threaten impeachment over Trump's dealings with Ukraine MORE on Friday insisted he was not making a joke at Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsDemocrats threaten to subpoena Pompeo over information related to Giuliani contacts with Ukraine DC statehood push faces long odds despite record support Federal agency to resume processing some deferred-action requests for migrants MORE’s expense after reports surfaced that the Maryland Democrat’s home in Baltimore was burglarized.

Trump was addressing his tweet from earlier Friday, in which he wrote the break-in was “really bad news” and “too bad!” The message drew accusations he was trying to humiliate Cummings, whom the president has repeatedly attacked over living conditions in Baltimore.

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“The tweet itself was really just a repeat of what I heard over the news,” Trump said when asked by reporters at the White House. “That was really not meant as a wise-guy tweet.”

Cummings said Friday the break-in took place last week and he was able to scare away the intruder after his security alarm alerted him to the incident. 

The president’s tweet prompted some Republicans to say he had crossed a line, making light of Cummings's being a victim of a crime. 

“This is so unnecessary,” tweeted Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyJuan Williams: Why does Trump fear GOP voters? Can Carl DeMaio save the California GOP? Treasury: US deficit tops trillion in 11 months MORE.  

Trump has excoriated Cummings, the House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman, for days, saying he deserves blame for his Baltimore-based district being “rat and rodent infested” and a “very dangerous & filthy place" where "no human being would want to live.”

The president’s attacks on Cummings and other minority lawmakers have led to backlash from Democrats and uneasiness among a handful of Republicans, who say they are racially motivated. Trump has denied that he is a racist.