As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to visit Baltimore for the Army-Navy football game Saturday, the Baltimore City Council has issued a repudiation of his rhetoric.
The all-Democrat council on Thursday unanimously approved a resolution condemning Trump’s “divisive and scapegoating rhetoric, rooted in hate and prejudice.”
Although new Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who took office Tuesday, has sought increased federal investment in the city to help turn its fortunes around, council members had other priorities.
“I am very proud that we are one of the very first city councils in the United States of America to push back and say, ‘Time for respect, again, in America,’” said Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, who called the resolution “a great way to start off this new term of office in that manner by pushing back, ‘Ain’t gonna do it that way. We’ll do it our way: respect, justice, fairness, balance.’”
@BaltSunBrk makes sense. We hate you but please send money our way to help us out of situations we created. I can see their logic.
— Mike McGee (@CSI_Mike) December 9, 2016
New Councilman Ryan Dorsey, who sponsored the resolution, said it was essential to stand up for Baltimore’s values.
“Donald Trump’s campaign struck a shocking tone from the start. Trump routinely made wrongheaded statements about African-Americans in the United States,” said Dorsey, who is white. “Here in Maryland, he referred to youths in Baltimore as having ‘no spirit.’”
Dorsey was referring to Trump’s speech during a June 2015 visit to the city in which he spoke about the recent unrest there:
I love Baltimore and I love what it represents and where it’s gone and now you look at what happened in one night, one night — I mean other nights were a disaster, but one night was catastrophic for Baltimore.
You have to create spirit. You have to create jobs. You have to get people working. They have to want to work. … Baltimore needs jobs, and it needs spirit. It’s got no spirit. None.
Although news accounts of the council meeting at which the resolution was approved said it was hailed with applause by the public, Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College in Maryland, said it was a “boneheaded” move.
“For the council in a city that needs aid desperately and on the eve of hosting the president-elect, it is sort of mind-boggling that you would do this,” Eberly said.
“Baltimore City needs to be building bridges, not burning them,” he said. “This doesn’t hurt them at all public-relations wise with people of this city and this state.”
Charlene Cowan, a member of the Baltimore Republican Central Committee, wrote in The Baltimore Sun that the resolution “seems a bit asinine to me.”
It’s nice that Baltimore doesn’t have any problems and the city council is able to focus on important issues like this. https://t.co/vWGFqBNGs7
— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) December 8, 2016
“I’m sure I’m like most Baltimore citizens when I say I’d like to see local politicians put their grief over Hillary Clinton’s loss aside and get down to business improving life in Baltimore for everyone. Bombast like Councilman Dorsey’s will solve nothing,” she wrote.
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