Question to Cummings: Where did the Billions in Missing Federal Money Go?
Why Trump was right to ask.
President Trump went after purported congressional watchdog Elijah Cummings recently, slamming the Democrat congressman for failing to improve his troubled Baltimore, Maryland, district despite the inflow of billions of dollars in federal aid during and in the years leading up to Trump’s administration.
Cummings came to the attention of conservatives as he zealously defended the IRS throughout the Lois Lerner saga. Lerner is the corrupt IRS tax-exempt division executive who engineered the tax agency’s targeting of conservative nonprofits during the Obama administration. Cummings also apparently conspired with Lerner to sabotage True the Vote, a leading grassroots electoral integrity group. In 2012, Cummings falsely claimed the group would “do almost anything to stop people from voting.”
“Baltimore’s numbers are the worst in the United States on Crime and the Economy. Billions of dollars have been pumped in over the years, but to no avail[,]” the president wrote on Twitter July 29. “The money was stolen or wasted. Ask Elijah Cummings where it went. He should investigate himself with his Oversight Committee!”
“Baltimore, under the leadership of Elijah Cummings, has the worst Crime Statistics in the Nation. 25 years of all talk, no action! So tired of listening to the same old Bull…Next, Reverend Al will show up to complain & protest. Nothing will get done for the people in need. Sad!” Trump tweeted.
Trump was responding to taunts by RINO Michael Steele, who used to run the Republican National Committee and was Maryland’s lieutenant governor from 2003 to 2007, Baltimore Mayor Bernard Young (D), and racial arsonist Al Sharpton, who accused the president of not spending enough federal money on Baltimore.
Two days before his tweets, Trump took Cummings to task on Twitter after the congressmen lobbed harsh criticisms about the conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Rep. Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His district is considered the Worst in the USA......” Trump tweeted.
“....As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded[,]” Trump added. “Cumming[s’] District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place[.]”
Naturally, Democrats in the media and the political establishment responded with indignation, defending the squalor of Baltimore, even though just a few years ago, they had admitted Charm City was in bad shape.
In 2015, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders blasted West Baltimore, likening it to a “Third World country.” The next year the socialist senator from Vermont lamented in a tweet: “Residents of Baltimore’s poorest boroughs have lifespans shorter than people living under dictatorship in North Korea. That is a disgrace.”
Lynne Patton, a regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, defended Trump, saying that $16 billion in grants was directed to Cummings’s congressional district in 2018 alone.
“I want to say this expressly to Mayor Young and Michael Steele and Al Sharpton, who today called out the president and said let President Trump put his money where his mouth is. Well, boys and girls, I have a message for you, President Trump has given $16 billion in 2018 alone to Elijah Cummings’s district in federal grants,” she said.
Newsweek verified that Cummings’s home turf, the 7th Congressional District, which includes portions of Maryland outside Baltimore, took in a little under $15.7 billion in grants and other funding from the U.S. government in fiscal 2018.
“We have given more money in homeless funds to Baltimore than the last administration. We have given more money in community development grants than the last administration to Baltimore. My question to you guys is this, what are you actually doing with the money so that it benefits residents in the community for once instead of deep-pocket crooked politicians?” Patton said.
Statistics paint a depressing picture of Baltimore.
Baltimore has the highest homicide rate among America’s 50 largest cities and the second-highest violent crime rate overall, according to FBI data released in September 2018. There were 342 homicides in Baltimore in 2017, which works out to 56 per 100,000 people residing in the city. On 24/7 Wall Street’s list of the most dangerous cities in the country, Baltimore ranked 3rd, behind 1st-place St. Louis, Missouri and 2nd-place Detroit, Michigan.
Baltimore’s economic data are nothing to brag about, either, according to a summary prepared by Fox Business.
The median home there is valued at $113,500. Home values have fallen 3.2 percent over the last year. Zillow expects they will tumble another 4.2 percent over the coming year. Census Bureau data show Baltimore had retail sales of $5,871 per capita in 2012, which was well below the national average of $13,443.
Baltimore’s unemployment rate in May was 5.1 percent, which is above Maryland’s state rate of 3.8 percent and the national average of 3.7 percent. Average household income in Baltimore was $46,641 in 2017, well below the average household income nationally of $57,652. The poverty rate in Baltimore is 22.4 percent, which is dramatically higher than the national average of 12.3 percent.
On WalletHub’s list of 150 best-run cities, Baltimore weighed in at the 129th spot in terms of city leadership.
The evidence suggests Trump was right on the money, as usual. Local Democrat leaders in Baltimore, especially Elijah Cummings, have some explaining to do.