President Donald Trump, in a wide ranging interview with the New York Times on Thursday, expressed some reservations about Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who stepped into the political spotlight when Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the ongoing Russia investigation.
Speaking with the Times, Trump said he was irritated to learn that Rosenstein was a former federal prosecutor in Baltimore.
“There are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any,” Trump said.
Well, that’s not quite true.
While the city of Baltimore is overwhelmingly Democratic,voter registration statistics in Maryland show that there were 143,003 eligible Republican voters in Baltimore County in the 2016 election. That’s less than half the number of Democrats in the county, but hardly an insubstantial number.
In fact, the number of registered Republicans increased by nearly 8% between the presidential elections of 2012 and 2016. In the 2012 presidential general election, only 132,720 voters registered Republican. That number was 3% higher than registered Republicans in the 2010 Gubernatorial general election.
As for Rosenstein himself, there might be room for debate on whether he has a conflict of interest in the investigation. (Trump says Rosenstein both recommended firing former FBI director James B. Comey, then appointed Mueller to investigate whether the dismissal constituted obstruction of justice.) But, the deputy AG is not actually from Baltimore.
He was born and attended college in Pennsylvania, before moving on to Harvard. He served as a clerk for Justice Douglas H. Ginsberg, before Ginsburg was named to the Supreme Court. And he was named United States Attorney for the District of Maryland in 2005 by President George W. Bush.