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Trump to visit Baltimore Thursday, a city he called a ‘rodent infested mess’

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 9/8/2019 Rachael Bade

a person riding a bicycle on a city street: A boy rides his bicycle near a mural in Baltimore in July. © Julio Cortez/AP A boy rides his bicycle near a mural in Baltimore in July.

Just weeks after lambasting Baltimore as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” President Trump will visit the Maryland city to huddle with congressional Republicans — a gathering that could draw local protests and reignite an ugly feud between the White House and the black-majority locality.

The White House confirmed Sunday that Trump would address House Republicans at their biennial retreat this Thursday. Republican lawmakers and aides — who chose the city for their three-day gathering before Trump decried it as “the Worst in the USA” — weren’t sure the president would want to attend.

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Trump’s attendance could elate GOP lawmakers still licking their wounds from last fall’s midterm shellacking by the Democrats, who took the House majority. But it could also spark protests from residents and local leaders who are still simmering over Trump’s attacks on their city and don’t want him there.

Trump’s offensive on Baltimore started in late July, when he took to Twitter to accuse Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the House Oversight Committee chairman, of being a “brutal bully.” Cummings’s panel has unearthed deficiencies in the administration, including shortfalls in the security-clearance process at the White House and concerns about Trump’s decision to give his son-in-law Jared Kushner access to the nation’s top secrets.

Cummings has also been investigating whether Trump has tried to enrich himself while in office by steering business to his hotels.

But Trump didn’t limit his attacks to the Baltimore congressman; he decried the entire area Cummings represents — a predominantly black constituency — as being “dangerous & filthy” and a place “no human being would want to live.”

City officials pushed back on Trump’s comments forcefully. Cummings, a vocal critic of Trump’s, invited him to visit to dispel his assumptions about the city.

Now, Trump will — albeit not with Cummings.

rachael.bade@washpost.com

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