Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore issued a statement Saturday rebutting a tweet from President Donald Trump that claimed that the city is infested with both crime and rats.
“It saddens me to see Baltimore severely denigrated by President Trump. Baltimore is near and dear to my heart” said Lori. “It is hometown to more than half a million people.”
Lori acknowledged that “Baltimore has its tragedies and challenges” in addition to its “strengths and opportunities.”
“Many good people are working together to address Baltimore’s challenges and to build on its strengths. They deserve the support of elected officials and their fellow citizens,” he said.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he believed Rep. Elijiah Cummings (D-MD) is a “brutal bully,” and that his district, Maryland’s 7th, is “FAR WORSE and more dangerous” than the southern border. Cummings and Trump had butted heads regarding policy at the border.
“Cumming District [sic] is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” said Trump. “If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place.”
Trump tweeted to defend his comments throughout Saturday and into Sunday. On Saturday, Trump asked why “so much money” was being sent to Maryland’s 7th Congressional District “when it is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States.”
“No human being would want to live there,” said Trump. “Where is all this money going? How much is stolen? Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!”
Trump also shared videos showing lawns in West Baltimore covered in trash.
In response to Trump’s tweets, the hashtag #WeAreBaltimore emerged to defend the city. People used the hashtag to share pictures and pleasant experiences about Baltimore.
Not all members of the clergy agreed with the entirety of Lori’s sentiment.
Fr. Leo Patalinghug, a resident of Baltimore and the host of EWTN’s Savouring Our Faith, tweeted that while there are “awesome parts” to the city, there are also “some very broken, sad, almost ‘3rd World’ parts to it.” Patalinghug also believes that the local government in Baltimore is “definitely corrupt.”
“I love my city,” said Patalinghug, “but we need stronger leaders – Mr. Cummings is not one of them. He’s had his time.”
Baltimore’s homicide rate in 2017 was 10 times the national average, making it the second-highest homicide rate in the country. In 2018, the homicide rate in the city was just under nine times the national average. According to the Baltimore Sun, there have been 100 homicides in the city between the dates of April 30, 2019 and July 28, 2019.
Baltimore was the first Catholic diocese in the United States, and has played a pivotal role in the development of the country’s Catholic culture.