Former First Lady Michelle Obama had a subtle response to President Trump’s offensive tweets about Representative Elijah Cummings and the city of Baltimore — part of the district Cummings represents. Obama tweeted a video of a Baltimore-based STEP-dancing team, the Lethal Ladies from 2017.
The caption read, “On #NationalDanceDay, I’m shouting out the Lethal Ladies, a Baltimore STEP team who I saw perform back in 2017. I’m so proud of you all—and everyone who’s dancing today!” But aside from simply empowering the team in the midst of attacks on their hometown, the video Obama attached contained a message that, without mentioning Trump’s name, called him out.
“When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level,” one of the women in the video says. “Our motto is …”
“When they go low, we go high. Raise our standards to the sky,” the rest of the dancers respond, chanting Obama’s famous slogan before breaking into their rhythmic routine.
Trump’s attack on Cummings — a Black 68-year-old son of a former South Carolina sharecropper — came in response to Cummings’ emotional condemnation of the migrant facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border. He called Cummings a “brutal bully” and Baltimore a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
The population of the city is mainly Black or African American, at 62.8%.
Obama had a similar understated response to Trump’s tweet earlier this month, which also called out lawmakers of color and used the word, “infested” to describe places with majority populations of people of color. Rebutting Trump’s racist and inaccurate calls to send four progressive congresswomen of color back to the “crime-infested places from which they came,” Obama tweeted, without even mentioning Trump’s name.
“What truly makes our country great is its diversity,” she said. “I’ve seen that beauty in so many ways over the years. Whether we are born here or seek refuge here there’s a place for us all. We must remember it’s not my America or your America. It’s our America.”
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Other public responses to Trump’s attack on Cummings and Baltimore were less subtle. On Sunday, the Baltimore Sun’s editorial board published a scathing opinion piece headlined, “Better to have a few rats than to be one”
Finally, while we would not sink to name-calling in the Trumpian manner — or ruefully point out that he failed to spell the congressman’s name correctly (it’s Cummings, not Cumming) — we would tell the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women’s private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are “good people” among murderous neo-Nazis that he’s still not fooling most Americans into believing he’s even slightly competent in his current post. Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity. Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one.