President Donald Trump did his best to join Democrats on the debate stage Thursday night, assailing several of his would-be 2020 opponents during a speech to Republican lawmakers in Baltimore.
He once again derided Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas” and former Vice President Joe Biden as “Sleepy Joe.”
“I hit Pocahontas way too early,” Trump said. “She’s emerged from the ashes.”
Trump attacked Democrats’ proposals on health care, the environment and energy. He said that with windmills generating electricity, viewers wouldn’t be able to watch Democrats debate if the wind wasn’t blowing.
Trump’s speech began late, starting just as 10 Democrats began a televised debate in Houston.
There, Senator Kamala Harris began by speaking directly to Trump, saying he’s governed with hate, intimidation and fear and “the American people are so much better than this.”
Thursday was the president’s first time in Baltimore after he attacked the city as a “rat and rodent infested mess” over the summer.
Local groups protested Trump’s visit amid lingering anger over the president’s comments. Trump began criticizing the city amid a dispute over immigration with Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings, whose Maryland district includes part of Baltimore.
Over a series of days, Trump suggested without evidence that political leaders in Baltimore were corrupt and had stolen billions in federal dollars, described the city as “disgusting,” and claimed “no human being would want to live there.”
Critics said the president’s language was racist, a charge the president subsequently lobbed at Democratic opponents. Cummings, who is chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, last month called for “those in the highest level” of government to stop using “racist language” that divides Americans and said Trump should visit his city.
Republicans selected Baltimore as the site for their annual retreat before the president’s comments denigrating the city.
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