In the course of a week, President Donald Trump made at least six false claims about the city of Baltimore and Maryland’s 7th congressional district, which U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings represents.
In doing so, Trump cast himself as a straight shooter, telling it like it is.
“I’m just telling you the facts,” Trump told reporters Tuesday at the White House asking him questions about Baltimore. “I’m pointing out facts.”
But while making the claims, the president made statements that are false or exaggerated. Here’s a look at the context around some of the president’s assertions.
1) Trump tweeted July 27 that Cummings’ district is the “most dangerous anywhere in the United States.”
2) Trump claimed Monday that “billions of dollars have been pumped in over the years" to Baltimore, and claimed Wednesday that “billions of dollars” have been “stolen or wasted” in Baltimore.
While the federal government does send billions to individuals, agencies and other entities in Baltimore, most of it does not go to the city government or any politician. According to the federal website that tracks government spending, the majority goes to residents of the district, including retirees who receive Social Security benefits, patients who use Medicare and Medicaid, military members who get government-funded health care, universities that do research, and public school budgets.
Records show that over the past two years, city government got $380 million in federal aid — far less than $1 billion. Trump offered no evidence that any of the money has been “stolen or wasted.”
3) Trump claimed Tuesday that federal funding to Cummings’ district is “top of the line.”
Districts all over the country receive more federal money than Maryland’s 7th District, including districts in Illinois, Louisiana, New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Two districts in Maryland, the 2nd and the 8th, also receive more federal government funds.
4) Trump claimed July 27 that “statistically, Baltimore ranks last in almost every major category.”
While Baltimore does have high rates of crime and drug overdoses, the city does not rank last in every category of life. Baltimore has a higher percentage of high school graduates than New York, Los Angeles or Chicago and a higher percentage of college graduates than Philadelphia. Baltimore has a shorter average travel time to work than San Francisco. More Baltimoreans have a computer in their home than folks in Detroit, Miami or New Orleans, and Baltimore has a higher median income than those cities.
5) Trump also tweeted Monday that Baltimore’s “numbers are the worst in the United States ... on the economy.”
Baltimore’s unemployment rate was 5.6% for June, which was higher than the state unemployment rate of 3.8%, but lower than other cities in the country, including McAllen, Texas (6.9%), Fresno, California (7.2%) and Yuma, Arizona (20.9%).
6) Trump claimed Tuesday that “the most unsafe city in our country is Baltimore.”
Baltimore has the highest homicide rate in the county for large cities with populations of more than 500,000. But many smaller jurisdictions, including St. Louis and East St. Louis, Illinois, have higher murder rates. Baltimore doesn’t even have the highest homicide rate in Maryland. FBI data show the highest murder rate in the state belongs to District Heights in Prince George’s County.
Looking at all violent crime, both Detroit and St. Louis have higher rates of violence, according to the FBI.