01:29 GMT +316 October 2019
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    In this March 6, 2019, file photo, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., sits with fellow Democrats on the House Education and Labor Committee during a bill markup, on Capitol Hill in Washington

    Ilhan Omar Tries to Defend Elijah Cummings, Says Trump Wants to 'Distract with His Racism'

    © AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite
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    US President Donald Trump has made a number of critical statements against elected Democrats who attacked his border policy.

    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".

    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".

    This tweet followed a previous statement by Trump calling Cummings district a "rat and rodent infested mess" and a "very dangerous & filthy place".

    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.

    Cummings himself responded directly to the tweet:

    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."


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