Pelosi hits back at Trump's attacks on Cummings, calls Kushner a 'slumlord'

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: 'I'm not counting Joe Biden out' Short defends Trump's tweets as a 'very effective way' to communicate with Americans Democrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday fiercely defended Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsHouse to vote next week on bill to create women's history museum The Hill's Morning Report - Icy moments between Trump, Pelosi mark national address Baltimore unveils plaques for courthouse to be named after Elijah Cummings MORE in the wake of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump administration eyes proposal to block jet engine sales to China: report Trump takes track to open Daytona 500 Brazile 'extremely dismayed' by Bloomberg record MORE's attacks on the Maryland Democrat and the Baltimore-area district he represents.

Pelosi, who was born in Baltimore and whose father and brother were both mayors of the city, accused the president of projecting his own "insecurity" on Cummings. She also hammered Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump unleashed: President moves with a free hand post-impeachment The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Trump's former personal assistant to oversee White House personnel office MORE — Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, whose family operates a real estate empire — as a "slumlord."

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"To see the president demean a great leader like Elijah Cummings shows his own insecurity and his own lack of understanding about what progress really is," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol.

"You really have to consider the source," she continued.

"The president without — and this comes as no surprise — really doesn't know what he's talking about. But maybe he could ask his son-in-law, who's a slumlord."

The biting remarks come several days after Trump lashed out at Cummings, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, with a series of tweets suggesting the 13-term Democrat is corrupt and his district unlivable. The region, Trump said, is “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” 

“No human being would want to live there,” Trump tweeted over the weekend.

Since then, a number of reports have emerged noting that the company operated by Kushner's family owns thousands of apartments and other properties in and around Baltimore. Some of them, the reports reveal, have their own problems with rodent infestations. 

Cummings last month had presided over a hearing in which he drilled Trump's Homeland Security secretary over the treatment of minors at the southern border. The Oversight chairman has also issued subpoenas for work-related text and email messages from Kushner and Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpManufacturers group kicks off campaign to close the industry's skills gap Fed chief issues stark warning to Congress on deficits Rally crowd chants '46' for Donald Trump Jr. MORE, the president's daughter and Kushner's wife, over private accounts. The president, reportedly, was furious with Cummings on both fronts.

"Baltimore’s numbers are the worst in the United States on Crime and the Economy," Trump tweeted Monday.

"Billions of dollars have been pumped in over the years, but to no avail. The money was stolen or wasted. Ask Elijah Cummings where it went. He should investigate himself with his Oversight Committee!"

The remarks drew a swift backlash from Democrats — most notably lawmakers in the Congressional Black Caucus, of which Cummings is a member — who have long criticized Trump as racist.

Democrats last month had passed a resolution through the House condemning Trump for telling a group of four minority congresswomen to "go back" to their countries, although all four are U.S. citizens and three were born in the United States.

It's unclear if Democrats will offer a similar response to Trump's more recent attack on Cummings, which most Democrats view as just the latest example of Trump attempting to fire up his largely white conservative base heading into the 2020 election while dividing the country in the process.

Moments before Pelosi went after Trump on Thursday, she had signed a sweeping two-year budget deal — passed by the Senate earlier in the day — to send it to Trump's desk. As is her custom, Pelosi uses multiple pens during such signings, in order to distribute them as gifts to the lawmakers who played the most crucial role in getting the legislation passed.  

At her side was Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerBarr to testify before House Judiciary panel Graham won't call Barr to testify over Roger Stone sentencing recommendation Roger Stone witness alleges Trump targeted prosecutors in 'vile smear job' MORE (D-N.Y.), who joked that Pelosi would have more gift pens to distribute if she would spell out her maiden name: D'Alesandro.

Pelosi added a beat: "D'Alesandro from Baltimore," she said.

Updated: 3:34 p.m.