- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 1, 2019

President Trump fine-tuned his attack on urban Democrats late Thursday, saying they’ve “squeezed the blood” out of big cities and are putting illegal immigrants ahead of their needy citizens.

Mr. Trump singled out Baltimore, comparing its homicide rate to Central America’s, and said Los Angeles is blighted by homelessness even as California’s governor works to give health benefits to unauthorized arrivals.

“Who wouldn’t come up? How crazy is this?” Mr. Trump told supporters in Cincinnati.

The attack was a riff on Mr. Trump’s gloomy assessment of urban, often predominantly black, areas as he gears up for the 2020 campaign.

He says the GOP will offer real solutions, though critics say he’s trying to rev up white, rural voters vital to his base, while trying to peel off or tamp down the enthusiasm of minority voters who will be vital to the Democratic nominee’s chances.



Mr. Trump name-checked Ohio Republicans who will help him defend his 2016 victory in the vital swing state. He also recounted his greatest hits from his first two years, singling out his record of appointing conservative judges, withdrawing from multilateral deals on climate and trade, and talking tough on China.

Mr. Trump said “opportunity zones” in his 2017 tax overhaul will spur investments in cities decimated by years of decline.

“They have paid a dear price, you see what’s happening,” he said, claiming urban Democrats squandered federal aid. “It’s stolen money, and it’s wasted money, and it’s a shame.”

He said liberals’ purported pursuit of “open borders” will make matters worse, as limited resources are stretched.

Protesters seized on that issue, criticizing Mr. Trump for conditions at detention centers at the southern border. They held up a banner that read, “Immigrants Built America,” forcing the president to pause for nearly three minutes. The banner was ripped during the interlude and security escorted the protesters out.

“Cincinnati, do you have a Democrat mayor?” Mr. Trump asked, as he resumed.

It was Mr. Trump’s first campaign rally since a North Carolina crowd volleyed a “send her back” chant at Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, a Somalia-born Democrat who is a U.S. citizen.

Republican allies winced at the chant, which lasted for 13 seconds without interference from Mr. Trump.

The president disavowed the chant from D.C., yet later hailed the Greenville crowd as “patriots.” Earlier Thursday, Mr. Trump said he did not want the Ohio crowd to restart the chant, though he wasn’t sure if he could do anything to prevent it.

“I don’t know that you can stop people. I don’t know that you can,” he said. ” I mean, we’ll see what we can do. I’d prefer that they don’t, but if they do it, we’ll have to make a decision then.”

The Cincinnati crowd did not revive the chant.

Mr. Trump has largely moved from his barbs against Ms. Omar, one of four House Democratic freshmen who make up the “The Squad,” to attacks on big-city leaders.

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, in particular, came under fire from Mr. Trump last weekend when the president called the city a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” He was angered by Mr. Cummings’ criticism of the Department of Homeland Security’s handling of the illegal immigrant surge at the border.

Critics castigated Mr. Trump as a race-baiting divider, while the president insisted he was the “least racist person there is anywhere in the world.”

As if to drive home the point, Ohio rally-goers held up white T-shirts with black lettering that read: “Trump and Republicans are not racists.”

Mr. Trump also hinted at the blowback, starting off his Cincinnati speech by quipping, “We want no controversy.”

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