BALTIMORE — Reverend Al Sharpton and several Baltimore leaders held a news conference at New Shiloh Baptist Church on Monday following President Donald Trump's remarks on the city.
The conference was held in response to Trump's tweets calling U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings a "brutal bully" and tweeting that his district, which encompasses much of Baltimore, is "considered the Worst in the USA."
At the news conference, leaders stated they were actually meeting in Baltimore to announce a plan for an economic forum aimed at tackling issues. They say leaders were working for months to discuss a bipartisan way to address economic development and housing issues across the nation before the president expressed his opinion on Twitter regarding Rep. Cummings.
"This was not a partisan effort, this was not a dump anybody effort, this was about empowerment and all of us have an investment in that. Little did I know, that Mr. Trump was going to, on the eve of this, attack the congressman from this city and not only the congressman but the people of this city in the most bigoted and racist way," said Rev. Sharpton. "He attacked everybody."
On Saturday, Trump released a series of tweets criticizing Rep. Cummings' role as district leader of Baltimore after he questioned the current conditions at the Southern Border. In the same Twitter thread, Trump shared his opinion on the city's overall condition calling it "a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" and "If he [Cummings] spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place."
Rep. Cummings responded to Trump's tweets saying "Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors. It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents."
The president's rant on Twitter started national conversations on racial bias and led Baltimoreans and leaders to have an overwhelming response in defending the city.
"He [President Trump] has a particular venom for blacks and people of color. He doesn't refer to any other of his opponents or critics as infested. He does not attack their districts. He attacks Nancy Pelosi, he attacks Chuck Schumer, he attacks other whites, but he never said that their districts or their states are places where no human being wants to live," said Rev. Sharpton.
Rev. Sharpton says he believes the president is playing a race divisive card. Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele spoke at the conference and shared a message to the people of Baltimore saying they should not take offense to the president's comments, but should hold their city leaders accountable to make the change they want to see. Steele also urged President Trump to take the time to visit the city and help make a change.
"Mr. President, come on down. The streets are ready for you; the neighborhoods are ready for you; folks want to talk to you, so just show up. Put the tweet down brother and show up," said Steele.
Leaders reiterated the importance of their mission to provide resources to city residents to fix the economic disparities. It was announced that a partnership with Bank of America has been established as a part of the next step into discussing investment opportunities to make Baltimore a better place.
WATCH THE FULL NEWS CONFERENCE BELOW: