Baltimore-born CNN host delivers emotional defense of city after Trump attacks

Baltimore-born CNN host Victor Blackwell delivered an emotional defense of his hometown on Saturday after President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE attacked House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsMaryland postpones primary over coronavirus fears Maryland governor: 'Simply not enough supplies' on hand to tackle coronavirus Meadows joins White House facing reelection challenges MORE (D-Md.) and his Baltimore district in an early morning tweetstorm. 

Blackwell began by reading off a series of Trump's tweets during a segment on "CNN Newsroom," noting the president's use of the term "infested." 

"Infested. That’s usually reserved for references to rodents and insects, but we’ve seen the president invoke infestation to criticize lawmakers before," he said before reading a recent tweet by Trump suggesting that freshman Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOvernight Health Care: Global coronavirus cases top 1M | Cities across country in danger of becoming new hotspots | Trump to recommend certain Americans wear masks | Record 6.6M file jobless claims Trump blasts Schumer over 'incorrect sound bites' on coronavirus Trump warns against 'partisan investigations' after Pelosi establishes select committee on virus response MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTexas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill Undocumented aliens should stay away as COVID-19 rages in the US The Southern Poverty Law Center and yesterday's wars MORE (Minn.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyMaryland Legislative Black Caucus pushes for state to release racial breakdown of coronavirus impact Pressley experiencing flu-like symptoms, being tested for COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Senate overcomes hurdles, passes massive coronavirus bill MORE (Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDemocrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus 20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order Pressley, Tlaib introduce bill providing .5B in emergency grants for the homeless MORE (Mich.) should "go back to the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

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Blackwell noted that Trump’s use of the term "infested" has frequently turned up in his criticisms of  people of color.

“Donald Trump has tweeted more than 43,000 times. He’s insulted thousands of people, many different types of people,” Blackwell said. “But when he tweets about infestation, it’s about black and brown people.”

Blackwell then paused, visibly tearing up before delivering an impassioned defense of Baltimore.

"The president says about Congressman Cummings’s district," Blackwell said, pausing to regain his composure, "that no human would want to live there."

"You know who did, Mr. President? I did," he continued. "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."

“There are still challenges, no doubt,” Blackwell added. “But people are proud of their community. I don’t want to sound self-righteous, but people get up and go to work there, they care for their families, they love their children who pledge allegiance to the flag just like people who live in districts of congressmen who support you, sir. They are Americans too.”

Blackwell’s comments came hours after Trump slammed Cummings on Twitter as a “brutal bully,” claiming the longtime congressman's Baltimore district is “far worse” and "more dangerous" than the southern border.

“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 tweeted. “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.”

Cummings’s district is 55 percent African American and 35 percent white. 

House Democrats rushed to Cummings’s defense later Saturday, with the caucus's vice chairwoman, Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkPelosi scrambles to secure quick passage of coronavirus aid Democrat says House vote on trillion aid deal could fall to Friday MA lawmakers press HHS secretary on status of state's protective equipment MORE (D-Mass.), saying Trump’s comments are “not the words of a patriot.”