The ongoing social media battle between President Trump and Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland has drawn in all sorts of supporters on both sides and provided more than a few amusing moments. One of the most recent spun off from a claim that the President made about Baltimore (Cummings’ home town) having a higher murder rate than some of the most dangerous places in the western hemisphere. It actually came from the White House account, not Trump’s personal one.
The murder rate in Baltimore is higher than that of Honduras, El Salvador, or Guatemala—the three Central American nations driving our border surge.
Democrats have run Baltimore for 5 decades. It's time for accountability.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 1, 2019
As usual, this had heads exploding among democrats who rushed to defend Cummings and claim that the President was “lying” again. Unfortunately for them, at least a few media outlets did their homework and went to fact check the numbers. CBS in Baltimore did the required digging and was forced to concede the unpleasant truth. The President was right. (Emphasis added)
WJZ reviewed data from 2018, the last full year for which data is available. Data from the U.S. State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council lists El Salvador’s murder rate at 50 per 100,000 residents in 2018.
The council’s report listed Guatemala’s 2018 murder rate at 22 per 100,000.
Honduras’ 2018 murder rate was not included in OSAC’s annual crime and safety report published in April, but a report from the Observatory of Violence at the National Autonomous University of Honduras gave a figure of 41.4 murders per 100,000 residents.
HOW DOES BALTIMORE COMPARE?
Charm City ended 2018 with a total of 309 murders, according to the Baltimore Police Department. So far in 2019, police report 196 homicides have occurred. Using the U.S. Census Bureau’s July 2018 population estimate for the city of 602,495, Baltimore’s 2018 murder rate is 51.3 murders per 100,000 residents.
The article ends with two simple words. CLAIM: TRUE.
This is yet another example of a phenomenon we’ve become accustomed to seeing. If the President goes after any individual, organization or even city or country, Democrats and their allies in the media will immediately leap to the defense of the perceived target. Sometimes that works out for them in the media wars because President Trump does say some odd things from time to time. But that knee-jerk reaction also gets them into trouble.
We recently saw that when cable news hosts, newspapers and even Democratic presidential candidates rushed to the defense of Al Sharpton after Trump called him a con man. Seriously? Have any of you actually followed Al Sharpton’s career? That would have been a good time to stay on the bench and hold your tongues. Eventually, both the Washington Post and the New York Times felt compelled to publish op-eds questioning why Democrats were rushing to Sharpton’s defense.
This phenomenon is what Seth Mandell recently referred to as the Trump “unendorsement.” When Trump attacks someone, others rush to their defense under the terrible theory that the enemy of my enemy must be my hero. This leads to many mouths gathering feet.
When it comes to defending Baltimore, I don’t know what most of these critics were thinking. Regular readers know that I’ve been covering Baltimore politics and culture here for years and the President’s claims about it being plagued by violence, crime, drugs, and even rats came as no surprise to me. These endemic problems have been in place for longer than many residents can remember. Trump is also correct that Baltimore has been completely under the control of one party (the Democrats) for a very long time. Three of their last four mayors have left office either facing criminal charges or under a cloud of controversy and failure. (As with Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and her failure in handling the Freddie Gray riots.)
Attack Trump if you feel you must, but before you rush to proclaim Baltimore some sort of success story, get your facts in order. Parts of it are nice enough, but the rough areas on the east and west sides are pretty much war zones.