Former Baltimore prosecutor: Why I stand with Baltimore city and against Trump’s remarks


Donald Trump’s recent tweets about Baltimore and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) are racist, ignorant and personal to me. As a native of Baltimore, woman of color, former Baltimore prosecutor and friend of Elijah Cummings, it offends me that a person occupying the White House could disparage any American city and a lawmaker on account of race and racism. I’ve heard the use of racist words all my life, but never from the person occupying the Oval Office. 

While most on the Republican side of the aisle want to defend Trump, debate if Trump is racist or remain silent on the topic, I will speak out. There is a saying that I hear preachers use in some black churches. It says: “Tell the truth and shame the devil.” We can’t shame Donald Trump into doing the right thing. However, we must tell the truth and call out his actions and rhetoric  as what I see as racist.

Donald Trump tweeted over the weekend that “no human would want to live there “meaning in Baltimore. I disagree. Baltimore City is only one geographic part of the 7th congressional district boundary that Cummings represents. Cummings’ district also covers parts of affluent Baltimore County and Howard County, Md. 

Less than one year ago, I moved back to my hometown after living and working in Washington, D.C., for 20 years. However, I don’t pretend that my beloved hometown is without its problems. Many of the problems that plague Baltimore City and other urban cities around the country are a result of the federal government’s failure to provide necessary funds and solutions to assist in economic and community development. Joblessness, homelessness, drugs, gun violence and crime are fixable. 

Contrary to Trump’s tweeted assertions, urban problems facing Baltimore City are not because of neglect from Rep. Cummings, who has tirelessly fought for the residents of Baltimore since first being elected in 1996

There may a silver lining in Trump’s Twitter rants and the anger that people feel must be turned to positive results. He primarily appeals to a  rural white base, and by disparaging persons of color, he may indirectly be assisting the Democratic party because his words anger many African Americans and other minority voters. 

The black vote and particularly black women’s votes are crucial to the Democrats winning the presidential election in 2020. In recent general elections where the black voter turnout is over 60 percent, Democrats win the presidential general elections. 

In 2008 blacks voted at 60.8 percent. For President Obama’s 2012 re-election, blacks voted at 62 percent. In 2012 black voter turnout exceeded the percentage of white voter turnout. And in 2016 the black voter turnout was under 60 at 59.6 percent and Trump won. Black voters hold the key to winning the White House back for Democrats.

Growing up, I often heard my mother say to me whenever someone angered me, “don’t get mad, get even.” In 2020, we need to change that to “get mad and get ahead.” I don’t expect Trump to stop his rants about Baltimore, Elijah Cummings, immigrants, African countries, black women, Muslims or anyone non-white. As a country, we must do the right thing. That’s why I expect persons of color and others who are offended by Trump’s racism and racist rants to vote him out of office in 2020.

Deborah Hines, J.D., is a former Baltimore prosecutor. She currently runs a private practice out of Baltimore and Washington D.C.

Tags Baltimore Baltimore City Donald Trump Elijah Cummings Racism urban cities

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