Trump compares Baltimore’s homicide rate to Afghanistan’s, using city as punch line in Ohio campaign rally

President Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally at U.S. Bank Arena on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019, in Cincinnati.

Minutes into his Thursday night campaign rally in Cincinnati, President Donald Trump continued his nearly weeklong bashing of the city of Baltimore.

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.

In 2018, 309 people were the victim of homicide in Baltimore.

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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.

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.

In response, Trump has derided Cummings’ district, which includes Baltimore, as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess." And the president alleged without evidence that billions of dollars in federal aid to Baltimore has been “wasted” and “stolen." (A Baltimore Sun fact check found Trump’s claim to be false. The money the president claimed had been stolen went to pay for retirees’ Social Security, patients who use Medicare and Medicaid, military members’ health care and public schools, among other routine spending items. It was not stolen or missing.)

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.