The operative rule in politics these days seems to be that any criticism of a non-white politician from anywhere to their right is, by definition, a racist attack. Nothing Trump said pertained in any way to Elijah Cummings’s skin color or ethnicity, only to his failure as a legislator and political leader to do anything to improve his district. The real question is: Is he right?
In May, the New York Times Magazine ran a cover story called, “The Tragedy of Baltimore.” The story details how, in the wake of the 2015 riots—or “uprising” in the view of those who imagine the torching of a neighborhood CVS and the intentional sabotage of the firefighters’ equipment to be revolutionary actions—Baltimore went from bad to horrible: “nothing less than a failure of order and governance the likes of which few American cities have seen in years.”
By any measure of systemic urban collapse, Baltimore is, as Trump said “very dangerous & filthy.” Among the largest 30 American cities, Baltimore has the highest crime rate, and is a close second to Detroit for the highest rate of violent crime. But for murders, Baltimore is second to no other city, with more than 50 homicides per 100,000 people. That puts Charm City in the ranks of Jamaica, Venezuela, and El Salvador in terms of lethality.