Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday called U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a "slumlord" because of the poor conditions of housing he owns in Baltimore.
These were Pelosi's first public remarks since Trump called the part of her hometown — represented in Congress by Elijah Cummings — "a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" and a "very dangerous and filthy place. No human being would want to live there."
"The president — this comes as no surprise — really doesn't know what he's talking about," Pelosi told reporters. "But maybe you could ask his son-in-law, who's a slumlord there, if he wants to talk about rodent infestations."
Kushner's real estate company owns thousands of apartments and homes in the Baltimore region and has been cited hundreds of times for such infestations as black mold and mice. Residents in many of these homes have complained about poor responses to their complaints and harassment when the rent is due.
Trump's tweet about Baltimore was directed more at Cummings, who has been a sharp critic of the conditions of migrant facilities along the U.S. – Mexican border.
Although Cummings' district has problems with crime and poverty, just like all big American cities, the Census Bureau says the median income for those living there exceeds the national average.
"Elijah Cummings is the pride of Baltimore. To see the president demean a great leader like Elijah Cummings shows his own insecurity and his own lack of understanding about what progress really is," Pelosi said.
Cummings is African-American. Trump's tweet came weeks after another tweet in which he said four black congresswomen should stop criticizing the U.S. or "go back where they came from."
But the White House denies charges that Trump's tweets about the representatives are racist, and Trump has called himself the least racist person one could ever know.
Pelosi represents the San Francisco district in Congress, but she was born and grew up in Baltimore. Her father and brother — Thomas D'Alesandro and Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr. — were both mayor and are still highly respected in the city, especially in the Little Italy neighborhood.