Elijah Cummings Skips Baltimore HUD Facility Tour
Maryland Democrat refuses to visit Housing and Urban Development facility
Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has skipped a tour of a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) facility in Baltimore on Wednesday, after being invited by HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
Cummings was invited on Tuesday to visit the facility with Carson, however, the Maryland Democrat rejected the invitation, according to reports.
Carson was asked about Cummings’ absence during a press conference after the tour.
Mr. Carson says he doesn't know why Cummings refused to join the tour but said he assumed there must have been a scheduling issue.
The Daily Caller reported Tuesday that Carson would visit Baltimore in the wake of President Donald Trump’s tweets calling the city a “rodent infested mess” in which no human being would want to live.
Critics accused the president of employing racist attacks against the Maryland city and against Rep. Cummings.
Carson defended the president’s comments, telling Fox News, “While I was there, I worked on a lot of issues with many politicians, including Elijah Cummings, particularly in terms of childhood education and improving the life for the people … why not spend some time working more for these people, you know, who are suffering?”
Trump also recently said that he plans to visit Baltimore “at the right time.”
Earlier this week, news footage from last year re-emerged showing Baltimore Mayor Catharine Pugh complaining about "smell" of "rats" and "dead animals" as she toured city streets.
Pugh made the comments during a September 2018 Fox 45 segment while touring a Baltimore neighborhood that was meant to highlight her "violence-reduction initiative."
As Pugh walked around the streets, she said: "What the hell? We should just take all this sh*t down. ... Whoa, you can smell the rats. ... Whew, Jesus. ... Oh, my God, you can smell the dead animals."
Meanwhile, President Trump has been accused of attacking Cummings and his Baltimore district as part of a political strategy.
This is not the case, however, The Hill reported Monday.
"There's no strategy. I have no strategy. There's zero strategy," Trump said.
"All it is is I'm pointing out facts.
"The most unsafe city in our country is Baltimore."
Cummings has been critical of President Trump's immigration policy and has spearheaded investigations into Trump and his campaign as the chair of the House Oversight Committee.
But the president denied that there was any personal anger toward Cummings driving the feud.
“I'm just telling you the facts," Trump said, according to The Hill.
"I'm not angry at anybody.
"I'm just saying Elijah Cummings has been there for 26 years. ...
"He's seen these mayors get thrown out, thrown out, thrown out.
"They're all friends of his."