Pressed by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Sunday to defend President Trump recently calling Rep. Elijah Cummings’ Baltimore district a “rodent infested mess,” acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney claimed that the president’s attacks had “absolutely zero to do with race."
With the president doubling down on his tweets on Sunday morning, Wallace began his Fox News Sunday interview with Mulvaney by asking “what is the president talking about” when he says no “human being would want to live” in Baltimore, especially considering Cummings’ district is in the upper half nationally in per capita income.
Mulvaney insisted that the president was merely “fighting back” against the Maryland congressman for what he sees as “illegitimate attacks about the border” last week, prompting the Fox anchor to push back.
“Nobody objects to the president defending his border policy but this seems to be the worst kind of racial stereotype,” Wallace stated. “Black congressman, majority-black district. ‘No human being would want to live there.’ Is he saying people that live in Baltimore are not human beings?”
The top White House staffer objected, claiming it was “right for the president to raise the issue” of poverty in Baltimore. He went on to say that when he was in Congress, he would have been “fired” if his home district looked like Cummings’.
“I think the president’s right to raise that and it has absolutely zero to do with race,” Mulvaney added.
“You say it has little to do with race, there is a clear pattern here,” Wallace shot back, noting that Trump has made similar remarks about other congresspeople of color, such as Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and the so-called Squad.
“Infested,” Wallace said. “It sounds like vermin. It sounds subhuman and these are all six members of Congress who are people of color.”
Mulvaney, however, told Wallace that he was “spending too much time reading between the lines.”
“I’m not reading between the lines,” Wallace countered. “I’m reading the lines.”