Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh once expressed shock and disgust while touring run-down areas of the city. Now a resurfaced clip from 2018 shows the former mayor exclaiming “Whoa, you can smell the rats” and “Oh, my God, you can smell the dead animals.”
The video segment aired on Fox 45 last year and featured the former mayor touring a neighborhood in East Baltimore. She seemed surprised by the conditions of the area.
“What the hell? We should just take all this shit down,” she said as she viewed the run-down buildings.
“Whoa, you can smell the rats,” she continued, adding “Whew, Jesus” and “Oh, my God, you can smell the dead animals.”
FLASHBACK: Fox 45 news report in September 2018 with Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh:
"What the hell? We should just take all this shit down.”
"Whoa, you can smell the rats." pic.twitter.com/BqhsL2Dsx7
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) July 28, 2019
The backlash was swift. According to the Baltimore Sun, many viewers were shocked that Pugh seemed surprised by the conditions of certain areas of the city.
The Sun observed:
Commenters were divided in their response to the mayor’s words, some praising her candor, others asking what she planned to do about the city’s problems.
Others wanted to know why Pugh seemed so surprised to find such blight in the city she leads.
Said one: “There’s no way she didn’t know some parts of Baltimore looked like that.”
Pugh told the newspaper the poor conditions of the neighborhoods were contributing to the city’s decay.
“I walk the neighborhoods of our city regularly with my agency and department leaders, along with our police district commanders, to deal firsthand with the issues that undermine quality of life and rob our children of the future they deserve,” the former mayor, who resigned in May amid an ongoing federal corruption probe, told the outlet through a spokesperson.
Pugh’s resurfaced clip comes in the wake of President Trump’s remarks on Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and the condition of his Baltimore district. Trump blasted Cummings for “shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border” while the Maryland lawmaker’s Baltimore district is “far and more dangerous” and a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
….As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded. Cumming 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
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2019
Prominent Democrats across the board decried Trump’s remarks. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) described it as a “racist” attack, Beto O’Rourke (D) called Trump the “most openly racist president we’ve had in modern history,” and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called the tweets “ugly and racist.”
.@RepCummings is a champion in the Congress and the country for civil rights and economic justice, a beloved leader in Baltimore, and deeply valued colleague. We all reject racist attacks against him and support his steadfast leadership. #ElijahCummingsIsAPatriot https://t.co/2LG8AuQrHh
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 27, 2019
In his words and in his actions, Trump has been the most openly racist president we’ve had in modern history. He is trying to change the very character of America. But we won't let him. We are so much better than this intolerance and hatred—and together, we're going to prove it. https://t.co/aGNjzIZdFZ
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) July 27, 2019
Donald Trump’s tweets are ugly and racist. They’re purposefully designed to turn us against one another. We cannot let that happen. Instead, we must follow my friend Elijah Cummings’ example and keep doing the work for the American people. https://t.co/t7heu6k3wq
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) July 27, 2019
However, Baltimore’s problems have been well-documented and recognized by prominent politicians even prior to Trump. In 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke about Baltimore’s “poorest boroughs” and said that residents have “lifespans shorter than people living under dictatorship in North Korea.”
Residents of Baltimore’s poorest boroughs have lifespans shorter than people living under dictatorship in North Korea. That is a disgrace.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 5, 2016
Horribly, someone born in Baltimore's poorest neighborhood can expect to live 20 years less than a person born in the wealthiest area.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 13, 2016
Trump tweeted about Sanders’ remarks Monday morning in hopes of demonstrating the left’s selective outrage.
“Crazy Bernie Sanders recently equated the City of Baltimore to a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY! Based on that statement, I assume that Bernie must now be labeled a Racist, just as a Republican would if he used that term and standard!” Trump tweeted in part:
Crazy Bernie Sanders recently equated the City of Baltimore to a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY! Based on that statement, I assume that Bernie must now be labeled a Racist, just as a Republican would if he used that term and standard! The fact is, Baltimore can be brought back, maybe……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2019
….even to new heights of success and glory, but not with King Elijah and that crew. When the leaders of Baltimore want to see the City rise again, I am in a very beautiful oval shaped office waiting for your call!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2019