Baltimore Mayor Attacks Trump for Visiting Arlington, Fort McHenry for Memorial Day
Democrat Mayor Bernard 'Jack' Young tells president to stay home
Baltimore's Democrat mayor has blasted President Donald Trump for traveling to visit the city's historic Fort McHenry and Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia to honor fallen military heroes for Memorial Day.
Mayor Bernard "Jack" Young slammed the president, telling him he should stay at home rather than making in-person appearances to pay his respects.
President Trump was visiting the sites Monday to honor fallen military members while also sending a clear signal to the country that his agenda will be business-as-almost-usual amid the coronavirus pandemic.
While continuing to abide by CDC guidelines, Trump has sought to put a priority on reopening the economy after two months of lockdowns in many states.
Memorial Day weekend has marked an unofficial start, or at least an acceleration, of that experiment in parts of the country.
Many families have been heading to the beach and states are pressing forward with loosening restrictions.
Coinciding with this, the president played golf at his private Virginia club on Saturday and Sunday and kept a packed Memorial Day schedule – despite criticism from Baltimore’s mayor.
Mayor Young late last week urged Trump to forgo his planned visit amid the city’s stay-at-home order.
"I wish that the president, as our nation's leader, would set a positive example and not travel during this holiday weekend," Young, a Democrat, said in a statement.
"That President Trump is deciding to pursue nonessential travel sends the wrong message to our residents, many of whom have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 virus."
The price tag for the visit in terms of security and personnel will hamper the city, Young also claimed.
The White House was not convinced.
"The brave men and women who have preserved our freedoms for generations did not stay home and the president will not either as he honors their sacrifice by visiting such a historic landmark in our nation's history," White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement Sunday.
Further, a spokesperson for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican who has clashed with Trump over his response to the pandemic, told the Baltimore Sun that they are "honored that the president and first lady have chosen to spend Memorial Day at Fort McHenry.
"Although Marylanders are encouraged not to gather in large numbers this year -- now more than ever -- it’s important to reflect on the American heroes who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.”
Trump will visit Baltimore just over a week after Maryland began to lift some of the restrictions put in place for the coronavirus, though they remain in effect in Baltimore.
Baltimore and the Washington, D.C., area have the nation's highest percentages of positive cases, according to Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force.
As Trump marks a solemn day on the American calendar, the country also will mark a grim milestone this week, with the pandemic expected to claim its 100,000th American.
Trump, who has likened himself to a “wartime” president in the fight against the virus, will start Monday with a customary visit just across the Potomac, to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington.
He is expected to speak later at Baltimore's Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.
It's near where Francis Scott Key wrote the poem -- inspired by a huge American flag that was hoisted to celebrate an important victory over the British during the War of 1812 -- that became "The Star-Spangled Banner."