Representative for Minnesota Ilhan Omar jumped to the defence of Democratic colleague Elijah Cummings from Maryland on Sunday, following criticism of Cummings by President Trump.
She accused Trump on Twitter of using racist comments to distract and divert attention away from being held accountable for what Omar calls "corruption".
Tell him, Chairman!— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) July 28, 2019
This president wants to distract with his racism so he can avoid accountability for his corruption. @RepCummings is doing his job holding this administration accountable and bringing down healthcare costs, something the President wouldn’t understand. https://t.co/b5WEGgyG9c
The declaration came in response to Trump's comments on Cummings for criticising ICE border agents and allegedly failing the city of Baltimore, claiming that he has "done nothing but milk Baltimore dry".
So sad that Elijah Cummings has been able to do so little for the people of Baltimore. Statistically, Baltimore ranks last in almost every major category. Cummings has done nothing but milk Baltimore dry, but the public is getting wise to the bad job that he is doing!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 28, 2019
This tweet followed a previous statement by Trump calling Cummings district a "rat and rodent infested mess" and a "very dangerous & filthy place".
Rep, Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His district is considered the Worst in the USA......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2019
Many high-ranking democratic politicians, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi condemned Trump's comment. Nancy Pelosi called the comment a "racist attack" on Twitter.
.@RepCummings is a champion in the Congress and the country for civil rights and economic justice, a beloved leader in Baltimore, and deeply valued colleague. We all reject racist attacks against him and support his steadfast leadership. #ElijahCummingsIsAPatriot https://t.co/2LG8AuQrHh— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 27, 2019
Cummings himself responded directly to the tweet:
Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors.— Elijah E. Cummings (@RepCummings) July 27, 2019
It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.
Representative Cummings is the chair of the United States House Committee on Oversight and Reform and has launched scathing criticisms of the Trump administration's policy towards border control.
The editorial board of the Baltimore Sun also joined in the mass criticism of the president from the left of US politics in an op-ed titled: "Better to have a few rats than to be one," referring to Trump as "the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office".
The friction between House Democrats and the president intensified following the calls for impeachment from "The Squad", a group of four elected Democrats, including Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as Ayanna Pressley from Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib from Michigan.
Trump tweeted a response to their push for impeachment, asking "Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came".
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney stressed on Sunday that Trump's comments regarding the majority-African American district did not have a racial basis. "I understand that everything that Donald Trump says is offensive to some people," he said.
He accused Democrats of failing to focus on the issues which matter and instead being distracted by impeachment.
Mulvaney continued, saying "I think the president wants folks to know that ... instead of dealing with those issues, Mr. Cummings is spending his time on this impeachment inquiry — which we all know is going nowhere."
He stated that Trump is pushing back against what he identifies as wrong: "It's how he's done in the past and he'll continue to do in the future."