Early in his speech, the Republican president railed against cities led by Democrats.
“The Democrat record is one of neglect and corruption and decay, total decay,” Trump said to applause.
He then turned to Baltimore.
“The homicide rate in Baltimore is significantly higher than El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala,” Trump told his supporters. He paused.
“Gimme a place that you think is pretty bad. Gimme a place,” Trump said, adopting the intonation of a stand-up comic and motioning to someone in the crowd. “The guy says, ‘Afghanistan.’ I believe it’s higher than Afghanistan. In our country. Think of that."
Trump’s voice turned sarcastic.
“If we’re wrong, they’ll tell us tomorrow. It’ll be headlines: ‘Trump exaggerated.’ I do believe the rate is higher than Afghanistan," the president said.
The victims’ ages ranged from 5 months — the baby Brailynn Ford — to 83-year-old Dorothy Mae Neal, who was found dead inside her West Baltimore apartment and remembered by neighbors as independent and soft-spoken.
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There was at least one couple: Sean and Mykia Dyer, fatally shot while together on Division Street. Seven-year-old Taylor Hayes, who was shot while riding in the back seat of a car, loved to sing and dance. Mousa Mohammad Jaber, who was killed, ran a convenience store and didn’t hold a grudge. Timothy Moriconi had spoken out about robberies before he was fatally shot in South Baltimore.
Trump has attacked the majority-black city of Baltimore since Saturday as part of his tirade against U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings.
Cummings’ House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has voted to subpoena senior White House officials, including Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, for their communications via private email accounts and messaging apps. Last month, Cummings harshly criticized Kevin McAleenan, head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, for the living conditions of child migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The president is accurate that Baltimore’s homicide rate is higher than the countries he listed. That’s according to data published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime last year and U.S. State Department Overseas Security Advisory Council reports published this year. Baltimore’s homicide rate is actually seven times higher than Afghanistan’s, but that figure does not include the tens of thousands of deaths from the War in Afghanistan.
For a more direct comparison between cities, the homicide rate for Baltimore is slightly lower than that of El Salvador’s capital of San Salvador and slightly higher than those of Guatemala City and San Pedro Sula in Honduras. That’s according to data published by the website World Atlas this year.