President Donald Trump thrust Maryland’s 7th Congressional District into the national spotlight last year after tweeting about Baltimore and the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings. The Maryland representative died in October from ongoing health issues.
Last summer, Trump unleashed several insults against “brutal bully” Cummings and his majority-Black district, which includes much of Baltimore but reaches into Baltimore and Howard counties as well. Calling the district “the Worst in the USA,” the president described the district as “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” that is “FAR WORSE and more dangerous” than the nation’s southern border.
“Why is so much money sent to the Elijah Cummings district when it is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States. No human being would want to live there,” Trump tweeted. “Where is all this money going? How much is stolen? Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!”
The tweets came after Kimberly Klacik, a supporter of the president’s who would later run on the Republican ticket to succeed Cummings, posted a video of the district that showcased trash and blight in some parts of it. Democratic Rep. Kweisi Mfume defeated Klacik in the special primary after Cummings’ death, and the two will face off again in November for the next term.
Klacik’s recent campaign ad, in which she marches past vacant houses in Baltimore and blames Democratic leadership for the city’s problems, has also drawn national attention. She is slated to speak at the Republican National Convention on Monday night in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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Data from the 2017 U.S. Census shows Maryland’s 7th district is nearly 53% percent black and nearly 36% white. Seven percent of the district is Asian, nearly 4% is Hispanic and less than 1% percent of the area is Native American and Pacific Islander. The median age in the majority-female district is 38.9, and residents 18 years and over make up nearly 79% of the population, data shows.
Over the last five years, Baltimore has received $903 million in federal grants for operating and capital expenses, according to city budget documents. Over the same period, the federal government also provided $1.1 billion to the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, according to USASpending.gov.
Cummings’ more expansive congressional district received just under $15.7 billion in grants, benefits and contracts from the federal government during the past two fiscal years, according to the federal government website. That includes Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security payments and defense contracts.
Maryland Policy & Politics
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According to Cummings’ congressional website, the Johns Hopkins University, the Johns Hopkins Hospital & Health System, and the University of Maryland System are the top three employers in the state’s 7th district. Two federal agencies, the U.S. Social Security Administration and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, fall within the district’s top 10 employers as well.
Using data from the “Biggest US Cities” website, Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com took to Twitter to point out that Cummings’s district has “above-average college education rates and home prices, along with a pretty good mix of urban and suburban areas (even some rural), and well-off, working-class and middle-class areas.”
Silver also pointed out the district is the second-wealthiest majority-black district in the country, with a $58,000 median household income, trailing Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties. Cummings’ district is also the second-most-well-educated majority-black district because 37% of the residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, trailing Georgia’s 4th District, Silver added.
Baltimore Sun reporter Doug Donovan and Hallie Miller contributed to this story.
An earlier version of this story misstated federal spending in the district. The story has been updated to correct the amount.