A group of Christian faith leaders on Monday denounced President Trump’s attacks against Baltimore, writing in a letter that the president’s tweets were “beneath the dignity of a political leader who should be encouraging us all to strive and work for a more civil, just and compassionate society.”
The Ecumenical Leaders’ Group of Maryland, which represents Christian faiths ranging from Roman Catholic to Christian Science, wrote in a letter to Trump that “much to our dismay and profound sadness, you publicly slurred our beloved City of Baltimore in a tweet.”
“It is all too easy to look for scapegoats and fault others for longstanding and systemic problems that beset every community,” the group wrote.
Trump has been attacking the city and U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings in a three-day series of tweets about urban decay in Baltimore and federal funding.
After calling Cummings “racist” Sunday and continuing to question why years of federal funding had not cured Baltimore’s woes, he continued Monday morning, dragging the news media and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who was in Baltimore to condemn Trump, into the fray.
“Baltimore, under the leadership of Elijah Cummings, has the worst Crime Statistics in the Nation,” Trump wrote.
He also said Sharpton “will show up to complain & protest” and, without evidence, added that the news media will assist the Democrats in the 2020 election.
It comes after Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday that “no human being" would want to live in Cummings’ “disgusting, rat and rodent infested” district, while going on to post videos and retweet videos of residences in Baltimore in squalid condition.
In their letter, the Christian leaders called out Trump for highlighting the issues of Baltimore without offering an actionable solution.
“To their detractors, cities are seen only through the lens of social evils such as poverty, crime, violence and racism,” the group wrote.
“Great leaders like [the Christian prophet] Jeremiah had a compelling for their people, and they knew how to bring diverse people together around that vision,” the group continued. “Our congregations have a similar vision of health and prosperity for Baltimore, and they are working courageously and effectively to build up the city by their actions — not tearing it down by their words.”
The group also ended the letter by calling on Trump “in the name of all that is good, healthy and decent, stop putting people down.”
The letter follows a rare rebuke from Baltimore’s Roman Catholic Archbishop William E. Lori, who wrote on Twitter on Saturday that Baltimore’s residents “deserve the support of elected officials and their fellow citizens.”