BALTIMORE (ChurchMilitant.com) - After Baltimore's Catholic archbishop hit back at President Trump for tweets critical of the city, Trump is responding by doubling down.
"You publicly slurred our beloved City of Baltimore in a tweet. We will not dignify the slur by repeating it. It was horrible, demeaning and beneath the dignity of a political leader," wrote Abp. Lori in a formal statement also signed by other members of The Ecumenical Leaders' Group of Maryland.
Archbishop Lori of Baltimore said today: "It saddens me to see Baltimore severely denigrated by President Trump. Baltimore is near and dear to my heart. It is hometown to more than half a million people. …” [1 of 2] pic.twitter.com/dsAnXSnCbO— ArchdioceseBaltimore (@archbalt) July 27, 2019
The 68-year-old archbishop also said, "It saddens me to see Baltimore severely denigrated by President Trump" in tweets posted to the archdiocese's social media accounts on July 27.
"Baltimore is near and dear to my heart. It is hometown to more than half a million people," he said.
The archbishop conceded that "Baltimore has its tragedies and challenges," but pointed to "its strengths and opportunities."
The archbishop's reactions — and President Donald Trump's — can be traced to an outburst by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman, directed for more than 10 minutes at Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan over the conditions of U.S.-Mexico border facilities.
When McAleenan said he was doing his "level-best," Cummings shouted: "What does that mean? When a child is sitting in their own feces, can't take a shower? ... Come on man. What's that about?"
McAleenan invited Cummings to tour a border facility to show the lawmaker firsthand that children are being reunited with their parents and conditions are improving.
President Trump fired back at Cummings, tweeting, "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."
Pushing back against Cummings' description of children sitting in their own feces, President Trump tweeted:
....As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded. 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— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2019
Baltimore's numbers are the worst in the United States on Crime and the Economy. Billions of dollars have been pumped in over the years, but to no avail. The money was stolen or wasted. Ask Elijah Cummings where it went. He should investigate himself with his Oversight Committee!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2019
Under Cummings' tenure, Baltimore has become the murder capital of the United States.
It has earned this "unenviable distinction," according to The National Interest, "after statistics showed that it suffered the highest per-capita homicide rate in the entire nation. The surge of increasing violence has permeated the streets, making the long-suffering residents of some of the most disenfranchised areas in the city virtual prisoners in their own homes."
The Baltimore Sun reported that Baltimore school students scored near the bottom in reading and math compared to children in other cities and large urban areas on an important national assessment given in 2017.
At the helm of Baltimore's archdiocese, Abp. Lori has not spared the city scandal and critique.
Lori has been described as "part of the church scandal" by The Baltimore Sun, accused of perpetrating the harm done by abusive priests as well as Church leaders who actively engage in cover-ups of the crimes.
For example, the archdiocese of Baltimore "vigorously lobbied against proposed changes in House Bill 642 which places a greater burden of proof on older victims, recognizing that this bill gives them less legal exposure" — and the promise of paying out less in settlements.
More recently, when Abp. Lori was assigned to give the people of the Wheeling–Charleston diocese in West Virginia, and the world at large, a full accounting of the scandalous behavior of Bp. Michael J. Bransfield, Lori failed to disclose that he himself was a recipient of a $10,500 gift from Bransfield. He issued a video explaining his omission as a "mistake."
Bishop Bransfield apparently spent millions of Church dollars on his own personal comfort and lavished cash presents on his superiors — or those who could grant him favors or cover.
Archbishop Lori said residents of Baltimore deserve respect from their elected leaders.
"Many good people are working together to address Baltimore's challenges and to build on its strengths," the archbishop said. "They deserve the support of elected officials and their fellow citizens."
President Trump is not backing off his blasts against Cummings, Baltimore — or Abp. Lori. On Tuesday, the president told reporters on the White House South Lawn that residents of Baltimore are "living in hell."
"Those people are living in hell in Baltimore," Trump said, continuing his rant against the city just to the north. "They're largely African-American ... and they really appreciate what I'm doing, and they let me know it."