President Donald Trump’s social media criticism of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) for the woes plaguing his congressional district has drawn the ire of Cummings’ fellow Democrats and the wrath of many in the media.
However, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who is one of Cummings’ congressional colleagues, credited Trump for tweets. Brooks called Trump’s criticism “important” during a radio interview on Monday.
“I think it is important for us to emphasize, and I don’t know why the Democrats have gotten a free pass for so long, but it is important for us to emphasize how badly different parts of the United States are doing,” Brooks said. “And coincidentally, they happen to be areas that are governed by Democrats and have been governed by Democrats for ages – many, many decades, some as long as 50 to 60 years.”
Brooks’ comments apparently caught the attention of CNN’s “New Day” co-host John Berman. During an interview with Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel on Tuesday’s “New Day,” Berman took aim at Brooks’ fifth congressional district in Alabama and compared it to Cummings’ eighth congressional district in Maryland. Berman chose median household income, median home value and college education as metrics to make the case that Brooks’ district was worse off than Cummings’ district.
Partial transcript as follows:
BERMAN: Democrats aren’t the only members of Congress who represent districts in distress.
Let me just give you a means of comparison here because Mo Brooks who represents Alabama five, right, they have a median household income which is less than Maryland seven where Elijah Cummings represents. They have a median home value which is less than Maryland seven, which Elijah Cummings represents. They have fewer people with bachelor degrees, and the poverty level is a little bit less than Maryland seven, but about in the ballpark.
MCDANIEL: The difference is Mo Brooks —
BERMAN: But, no. But my question — my question to you is this. So, Mo Brooks spends a lot of his time defending the president. Why should he do that, by your logic, and not go home and deal with the issues in his own district?
MCDANIEL: Well, Mo Brooks is not advocating let’s give health care to people coming to this country —
MCDANIEL: — illegally. It’s a difference in policy. The president —
BERMAN: It’s not. No, no — it’s a difference — so —
MCDANIEL: It is a difference in policy and what you’re focusing on.
BERMAN: — I don’t think that’s the problem. The problem is — what the president is saying is he’s not focused on his home district.
MCDANIEL: No. Can I speak?
MCDANIEL: Which is Mo Brooks isn’t running a Russia investigation every day and investigating this president. He’s working for his district. The president is saying the people of your district deserve to have you —
MCDANIEL: — focused on the problems in our district. And guess what? Baltimore does have a high murder rate. And yes, there is a lot of poverty. And I think a lot of people would like to see their congressional members and leaders focus on how do we solve the problems for the people we represent.
Shortly after the segment aired, Brooks responded to Berman’s remarks. In a text to Breitbart News, Brooks categorized Berman’s comments as a “mean-spirited” and “really stupid” “fake news” attack on him, Alabama and Alabama’s Tennessee Valley region.
The Alabama congressman highlighted the economic boom underway in his congressional district in his response.
“[He] claimed we were economically ‘distressed,'” Brooks wrote. “In a way, we are ‘distressed.’ We need more workers for our vacant, high-paying jobs. We need tens of thousands of new houses for the tens of thousands of people who already have and will be soon moving here for jobs already created or soon to be created. We need more and wider roads and new schools to handle the population influx. Whew! Can we handle the real ‘distress?'”
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