(CNN) — Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings said he would welcome a visit from President Donald Trump to Baltimore in his first on-air comments addressing Trump’s attacks on his district’s largest city.
“The President is welcome in our district, to go through the 7th Congressional District, and he will see strong people who get up and they go out to work on the early bus,” Cummings, the chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee, said Saturday following an event opening for an outdoor play space in Baltimore.
“He’ll see people, he’ll see organizations that have come to the inner city of Baltimore like neighborhoods like this and … did not go around criticizing, but they said, ‘How can we help?’ And they have helped,” Cummings continued, adding, “I welcome the President. I would love to see him.”
Trump last week slammed the prominent African American lawmaker’s district as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” suggesting that “no human being would want to live there.” Trump’s tirade — which also criticized Cummings’ work in Baltimore — was his latest verbal assault against a minority member of Congress who is a frequent critic of the President. The tweets had followed a segment that aired an hour earlier on Fox News, in which a Republican strategist claimed conditions in Cummings’ district were worse than those at the southern border.
“If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place,” Trump tweeted of Cummings at the time.
Cummings was born and raised in Baltimore and has served in the majority black district for more than 20 years.
When asked about the President’s additional tweets on Friday about an attempted break-in at the congressman’s house, Cummings replied, “I can’t go there, I’m not going to go there.”
“I’m too busy doing the work of my people. This is where I live,” he added.
But Cummings also alluded to his disapproval of the President’s attacks, reiterating his call for critics of the city to instead “come and help” and “bring resources.”
“When I hear criticism by anybody about my city, I think the thing that bothers me most is that we have a situation where there are folks who are stepping on the foot, on the hope of our children,” he added. “I don’t know what I would have done if I had people in high places when I was a little boy telling me what I couldn’t do. Instead I had people telling me what I could do.”
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