“Baltimore, my Baltimore,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi proclaimed with joy.
The California Democrat was walking through the Capitol on Thursday after a bill enrollment ceremony for a bipartisan budget deal that had just passed the Senate (the House passed it the week prior) when reporters asked her about President Donald Trump’s persistent attacks on her hometown of Baltimore and one of its veteran representatives, Maryland Democrat Elijah E. Cummings.
“To see the president demean a great leader like a Elijah Cummings shows his own insecurity and his own lack of understanding about what progress really is,” Pelosi said.
The speaker was describing the progress of African Americans in the United States, having just returned from a congressional delegation trip to Ghana observing the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans landing in America.
Pelosi, whose father and brother both served as mayor of Baltimore, said she was just in the city last Wednesday before leaving for the Ghana trip.
“It’s always a great source of pride to me to go to Baltimore. And Elijah Cummings is a prize to Baltimore,” she said of the House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman.
The president’s attacks on Cummings and Baltimore “come as no surprise,” considering the source, Pelosi added.
“He really doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” she said. “But maybe you could ask his son-in-law, who’s a slumlord there, if he wants to talk about rodent infestations.”
Pelosi’s comment was an attack on Jared Kushner. Following Trump’s characterizations of Baltimore as a “rodent infested mess,” several media outlets have reported about tenant complaints regarding Kushner-owned rental properties in Baltimore that included reports of rats.