Al Sharpton comes to Elijah Cummings’ defense
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump and the Rev. Al Sharpton engaged in a fierce Twitter war Monday as the civil rights activist went to Baltimore to denounce the president’s attacks on the city and Rep. Elijah Cummings.
“I have known Al for 25 years,” Trump tweeted in response to a post from Sharpton on his trip to Baltimore. Trump said they went to boxing matches together with promoter Don King and “always got along well.”
“He ‘loved Trump!’ He would ask me for favors often,” the president tweeted. He then called Sharpton a “con man” and “a troublemaker, always looking for a score.”
“Hates Whites & Cops,” Trump added.
“Trump says I’m a troublemaker & con man,” Sharpton tweeted back. “I do make trouble for bigots. If he really thought I was a con man he would want me in his cabinet.”
The feud between Trump and Sharpton began Saturday when Trump went after Cummings in a series of tweets because the Maryland Democrat had been highly critical of his administration’s treatment of migrants on the southern border. Trump said Cummings’ district, which includes much of Baltimore, was more dangerous than the border and called it a “rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”
Sharpton joined Democratic politicians and other Trump critics in denouncing as racist the president’s comments about the African-American congressman and the majority-black city.
Sharpton, who hosts “Politics Nation” on MSNBC, said on his show Saturday that Trump is “never shy about insulting cities and countries that disagree with him politically,” but “he reserves particular insult for black and brown cities.”
On Monday, Sharpton held a news conference along with former Republican National Committee Chairman and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele to “address Trump’s racist remarks.”
The trip to Baltimore had been planned a month ago to discuss black homeownership, Sharpton said at the news conference.
“Little did I know that Mr. Trump was going to, on the eve of this, attack the congressman from this city. But not only the congressman but the people of this city, in the most bigoted and racist way.”
More: Trump says Democrats ‘always play the race card,’ then calls Elijah Cummings ‘racist’
Sharpton addressed his history with Trump in an MSNBC interview on Monday, saying he marched against Trump over housing discrimination and the wrongful convictions of the Central Park Five.
He also acknowledged they had been occasional allies, saying that Trump “cut the ribbon” one year at his annual National Action Network Convention “when he was a Democrat” and that Trump asked him to meet with him at Mar-a-Lago after his victory in 2016.
On Twitter, Sharpton shared a photo of Trump with himself, Jesse Jackson and James Brown, which he said was taken at the 2006 National Action Network Convention.
About 30 minutes later, Trump tweeted: “Al Sharpton would always ask me to go to his events. He would say, ‘it’s a personal favor to me.’ Seldom, but sometimes, I would go. It was fine.”
He added that Sharpton visited him at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign to “apologize for the way he was talking about me. Just a conman at work!”
Trump also continued to assail Cummings on Monday, referring to the House Oversight Committee chairman as “King Elijah.” And he tweeted that “when the leaders of Baltimore want to see the City rise again, I am in a very beautiful oval shaped office waiting for your call!”
“If he really wants to help cities like Baltimore, he has to direct federal resources here to help us with infrastructure, instead of just bashing the City of Baltimore,” Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young told USA TODAY.
Contributing: Ryan W. Miller and John Fritze