President Donald Trump's weekend attack on the city of Baltimore spilled into Monday with a swipe at Sen. Bernie Sanders that earned the president a rebuke from the Vermont independent.
On Monday, Trump said via Twitter that because Sanders had criticized the management of Baltimore in the past, Sanders should be labeled a racist just as the president was for a barrage of attacks on the city which started Saturday morning.
"Crazy Bernie Sanders recently equated the City of Baltimore to a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY!" tweeted the president. "Based on that statement, I assume that Bernie must now be labeled a Racist, just as a Republican would if he used that term and standard!"
Sanders, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president to take on Trump in 2020, was quick to reply, drawing a distinction between the president's racism and the senator's efforts to support the working class.
"Trump's lies and racism never end," said Sanders. "While I have been fighting to lift the people of Baltimore and elsewhere out of poverty with good paying jobs, housing, and healthcare, he has been attacking workers and the poor."
Trump's lies and racism never end.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 29, 2019
While I have been fighting to lift the people of Baltimore and elsewhere out of poverty with good paying jobs, housing and health care, he has been attacking workers and the poor. https://t.co/7N0K4GQgEO
Trump's comments on Baltimore began as an attack on Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the head of the powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee, which has been a thorn in the White House's side since the Democrats took over the lower chamber. The president's tweets on Saturday, which used racist language about Cummings' district and Baltimore in general, came after a segment on Fox News program "Fox and Friends" wherein the hosts wrung their hands over conditions in the Maryland city.
The tweets made Trump sound "like a caller to a radio show, not a president," wrote CNN's Brian Stelter.
On Saturday, hours after the president's attacks on the city, CNN anchor Victor Blackwell gave an impassioned defense of his home city:
The president says about Congressman Cummings' district that no human would want to live there. You know who did, Mr. President? I did, 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 challenges, no doubt, but people are proud of their community.
The comments came as part of a longer speech from Blackwell on the city and the president's tweets.
Trump on Monday also attacked Rev. Al Sharpton, the New York politico who now hosts a show on MSNBC. The president referred to a trope that Sharpton only shows up to fan flames of racial strife, a longtime attack on the reverend from racist New Yorkers.
The president also called Sharpton a "con man." Sharpton replied Monday in a tweet that if he were a con man, Trump "would want me in his cabinet."
Trump says I’m a troublemaker & con man. I do make trouble for bigots. If he really thought I was a con man he would want me in his cabinet.— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) July 29, 2019
In response to Trump's tweets—including one in which the president referred to Baltimore as "a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess"—city paper The Baltimore Sun laid out an attack which ended in a memorable line:
"Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one."