Why America’s Big Cities Have Become The President’s Punching Bag

It didn’t take long Thursday night, at a rally in Cincinnati, for President Donald Trump to pull out his favorite punching bag: America’s big, diverse cities, most of them run by “Democrat politicians” and harmed by “the far left’s destructive agenda.”

As he has all week, President Trump singled out Baltimore. He didn’t name names, but he didn’t have to. The president has been punching hard at Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who represents much of Baltimore – and whose congressional committee recently approved subpoenas for Mr. Trump’s daughter and son-in-law. On Friday morning, he tweet-trolled Congressman Cummings over an intruder who entered his Baltimore home last weekend.

That Mr. Cummings is African American is lost on no one. And following the president’s tirades against four minority female freshmen in Congress, known as “the squad,” the politics of race is aflame like at no other time in Mr. Trump’s presidency.

“There’s no question that in his approach to Cummings, he’s walking a tightrope,” says GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. “But at the same time, he cannot allow unfettered media coverage to call him racist and a Russian puppet without making the case that the policies that are being prescribed by the very people who are calling him racist have let down Democratic voters and particularly minorities.”

Indeed, Mr. Trump’s pitch to African Americans in 2016 was essentially “what have you got to lose?” And while he won only 8% of the black vote, that was better than 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s 6%. Today, Mr. Trump touts criminal justice reform and low African American unemployment in his messaging to black voters.

Read more from Linda Feldmann, Patrik Jonsonn and Harry Bruinius at The Christian Monitor

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Analysis & Political Strategy