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St. Petersburg mayor defends Baltimore against Trump vitriol

Mayor Rick Kriseman tweeted over the weekend urban cities, though they have their challenges, “make us great.”
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman pushed back against President Donald Trump's characterization of Baltimore as a place no "human being" would want to live. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times (2018)]
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman pushed back against President Donald Trump's characterization of Baltimore as a place no "human being" would want to live. [SCOTT KEELER | Times (2018)]
Published Jul. 29, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter over the weekend to defend Baltimore against President Donald Trump, who attacked the city and one of its congressmen on the social media platform on Saturday.

Rep. Elija Cummings, a Democrat, chairs the House Oversight Committee, which is investigating the Trump administration on a number of fronts, including Russia, whether Trump has violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause, voting rights and security clearances. At a hearing last week, Cummings ripped into the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security over conditions for migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

That sparked Trump on Saturday to go after Cummings and Baltimore on Twitter, saying “no human being” would want to live there and calling the city “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

Since then, politicians, pundits and the Baltimore Sun’s editorial board have pushed back against Trump’s characterizations. St. Petersburg’s mayor on Sunday joined the fray.

“Does Baltimore have challenges? All big cities have challenges. But it is certainly a better place to be than the America the president wants us to live in,” Kriseman wrote to his followers on the social media platform. “Urban cities aren’t perfect, but they are welcoming, diverse, vibrant & serve as engines of innovation. They make us great.”

Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin also responded to Trump, telling 10News WTSP that “we are seeing a pattern from the president where disagreement results in specified attacks against people and the places they represent. And the mayor and our entire team feel very strongly that we need to champion cities."

Yesterday, Trump doubled down on his attacks against Cummings, calling the longtime congressman “racist," and then went after Rev. Al Sharpton, who announced he was heading to Baltimore. Trump on Twitter called Sharpton a “con man" on and said he “Hates Whites & Cops.”

It’s not the first time Kriseman, a Democract, has criticized the president; his Twitter account regularly features messages that directly challenge Trump or rebuke his policies. While Trump was running for president in 2015, Kriseman — borrowing language from Trump’s wish to ban travelers from majority-Muslim countries — went viral with a tweet “barring” Trump from St. Petersburg until “we fully understand the dangerous threat posed by all Trumps.”

AFTER THE ELECTION: Remember that tweet ‘barring’ Donald Trump from St. Petersburg? Mayor Rick Kriseman sure does, but isn’t worried

Contact Josh Solomon at jsolomon@tampabay.com. Follow @ByJoshSolomon.

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