Baltimore Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake said Tuesday that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump doesn't understand the role of the federal government in fighting crime and said he misrepresented the city's trend in homicides.
"He doesn't even understand the role of the federal government in the crime fight, which was clear in his -- in his speech," Rawlings-Blake told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Tuesday, referencing his speech on Thursday at the Republican convention in Cleveland. "What I know for sure is that Hillary Clinton understands America's cities."
In a speech heavy on a law-and-order, Trump mentioned a spike in homicides in Baltimore and other cities. Trump cited a 60 percent rise in killings in the city — an increase that is consistent with the jump from 2014 to 2015. This year homicides are down about 7 percent, and violent crime nationally is also down.
"You know, I don't wait for it to be a headline to hop on the issue like Trump does. And he needs to understand -- just like he was wrong with the national trends on crime, he's wrong with where we stand on trying to bridge that gap between the community and police," Rawlings-Blake said. "He thinks just by saying it, you know, saying these words -- disconnected words -- that it makes it a fact and it just doesn’t."
Rawlings-Blake has faced her own criticism on the right for her handling of the riots following the death of Freddie Gray last year. She specifically came under fire for poor phrasing as she explained the city's desire to protect protesters' First Amendment rights -- suggesting the city gave "space" for people to riot.
Rawlings-Blake unexpectedly gaveled in the Democratic National Convention here Monday when Democratic Party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- embrioled in a scandal over internal party emails -- relinquished the role.
"It was an awesome opportunity. I've been coming to the convention since New York in '92. That was my first convention with my dad," said Rawlings-Blake, who is the secretary of the national party. "So to be able to gavel it in was -- it gives me goosebumps just talking about it."