A video now making the rounds of the internet shows an elected official making derogatory comments about the living conditions in the city of Baltimore.
Nope. Not President Donald Trump, who galvanized national attention on the long-festering sore of inner city living conditions with a series of tweets Saturday aimed at House Oversight Committee chair Elijah Cummings, whose district includes part of the city.
In fact, the official clearly revolted over what she is seeing and smelling is former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, whose comments were caught on camera during a September 2018 tour.
“What the hell? We should just take all this sh– down,” the Democrat said.
That was not the entire extent of her commentary.
FLASHBACK: Fox 45 news report in September 2018 with Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh:
“What the hell? We should just take all this shit down.”
“Whoa, you can smell the rats.” pic.twitter.com/BqhsL2Dsx7
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) July 28, 2019
“Whoa, you can smell the rats,” she said later. “Whew, Jesus. Oh, my God, you can smell the dead animals.”
When The Baltimore Sun reported on the video in September 2018, Pugh’s office replied with a statement.
“I walk the neighborhoods of our city regularly with my agency and department leaders, along with our police district commanders, to deal firsthand with the issues that undermine quality of life and rob our children of the future they deserve,” the statement said.
Pugh resigned in May 2019 amid a scandal over thousands of dollars she was paid by the University of Maryland Medical System, of which she was a board member, for children’s books that she wrote — many of which were later found in a warehouse, The New York Times reported.
Trump’s Saturday tweets questioned what happened to the federal money poured into the city that appeared to have no effect on living conditions.
Why is so much money sent to the Elijah Cummings district when it is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States. No human being would want to live there. Where is all this money going? How much is stolen? Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2019
Cummings had endorsed Pugh.
“She’s experienced, she’s prepared, she’s knowledgeable and she’s smart. Most of all she knows how to get things done. That to me is so important. We can talk, talk talk, but when the all the dust settles, have you gotten something done and made people’s lives better? Have you opened up new doors for people? That’s Catherine Pugh,” Cummings said in 2016 prior to her election, according to WBAL
But in 2018, The Baltimore Sun reported that despite years of effort and at least $80 million spent, vacant houses dominated Baltimore.
“Everywhere you go, everywhere you look, it’s vacant houses. It looks like it’s more vacant houses in the city than occupied houses,” Baltimore resident Barbara Stokes said then.
“It seems like it never changes.”
The Sun reported that in eight years, the city had reduced the number of vacant houses on its books from 16,800 to 16,500.
Seema Iyer of the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance at the University of Baltimore said the real number of vacant homes might be as high as 30,000.
Issues over the conditions in Baltimore are nothing new. In 2015, The Washington Post reported that the life expectancy of babies born into some of Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods was 19 years shorter than the life expectancy of a child born in a wealthy neighborhood.
The Post likened the life expectancy of poor children in Baltimore to that of North Koreans.
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