Trump camp mocks CNN's Blackwell over emotional reaction to Baltimore criticism

The Trump campaign on Thursday mocked Baltimore-born CNN host Victor Blackwell's emotional response to the president calling the city "disgusting" and a "rodent infested mess."

The Trump War Room, a Twitter account managed by the campaign, shared a tweet of Blackwell's impassioned rebuke of the president's use of "infested" by splicing Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCracks emerge in White House strategy as witness testifies Overnight Defense: Pentagon insists US hasn't abandoned Kurds | Trump expands sanctions authority against Turkey | Ex-Ukraine ambassador says Trump pushed for her ouster On The Money: Trump announces limited trade deal with China | Appeals court rules against Trump over financial records | Trump expands authority to sanction Turkey MORE's (D-Md.) comments about Baltimore in between the broadcaster's remarks.

"This morning, I left my community in Baltimore, a drug-infested area," Cummings says, as the video cuts back to Blackwell saying "infested" is "usually reserved for references to rodents and insects."

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The clip again transitions to Cummings stating, at a congressional hearing in 1999, that he's seen children grow up to look like "zombies." It concludes by showing Blackwell as he chokes up during the segment.

CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Trump has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks over his attacks against a group of Democratic minority lawmakers. On Saturday, the president targeted Cummings, calling him a "brutal bully" and casting his Baltimore-area district as "dangerous" and "filthy."

Blackwell responded on Saturday by decrying Trump's use of "infested" to describe where people of color live. He noted that Trump used the same word while attacking a group of freshman lawmakers — Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) — a few weeks earlier.

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff MORE has tweeted more than 43,000 times. He’s insulted thousands of people, many different types of people. But when he tweets about infestation, it’s about black and brown people," Blackwell said on "CNN Newsroom."

Blackwell paused during the segment for about 10 seconds as he held back tears.

"The president says about Congressman Cummings’s district, that no human would want to live there," he said. "You know who did, Mr. President? I did. From the day I was brought home from the hospital to the day I left for college. And a lot of people I care about still do."

Blackwell finished by noting that Baltimore is not alone in the challenges it faces. He added that the people living there were just as American as the people living in districts that voted for Trump.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHillicon Valley: FCC approves T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Dems wrangle over breaking up Big Tech at debate | Critics pounce as Facebook's Libra stumbles | Zuckerberg to be interviewed by Fox News | Twitter details rules for political figures' tweets Democrats have reason to worry after the last presidential debate 2020 Democrats recognize Pronouns Day MORE (D-Calif.), who is running for president, praised Blackwell's message Sunday, calling it "powerful."

Democratic lawmakers have denounced Trump's remarks about Cummings and Baltimore, calling them racist. The president has stood by his comments, arguing Cummings has done little for the people in his community.

He also dismissed charges of racism, saying earlier this week that he was "the least racist person there is anywhere in the world."