WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump successfully leveraged demonization of Chicago during his 2016 campaign, keeping it going after he got to the White House. For his 2020 reelection bid, Trump is using the same play, adding more Democratic cities to the mix.
Trump is slamming Baltimore, Los Angeles and San Francisco to jazz up his base to increase his turnout by throwing a spotlight on liberal/conservative divides.
Chicago remains in the Trump family sights. Last month daughter Ivanka took a slap at the city in a tweet.
The president is waging a war with the state of California, where the elected officials have taken leading roles in fighting the Trump administration.
Trump said he would revoke California’s prized authority to impose tougher emissions standards on car makers — claiming it would make vehicles “safer and much less expensive.” He has little to lose with taking on the “Left Coast.”
These cities have problems. No one says they don’t.
Trump has been focusing on Chicago’s chronic struggles with shootings.
Last July, Trump said the Baltimore district represented by Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, with multiple ongoing Trump related investigations was “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
On Wednesday, he kicked off his attack on Los Angeles and San Francisco, criticizing the cities for how they are dealing with their homeless populations.
During a visit to a border wall site in San Diego on Wednesday, Trump said, “you do have a homeless issue. And in the case of San Diego, the mayor is doing the right thing. He’s doing a good job,” Trump said. The San Diego mayor is a Republican.
“In the case of Los Angeles, it’s a disaster. In the case of — if you look at San Francisco, it’s a total disaster what’s happening, where they’re going to ruin those cities. And I — we’re going to get involved very soon on a federal basis if they don’t clean up their act.
“One of the things we’re very upset about and angry about is we’re paying a lot of money to Los Angeles to build the subway system — billions and billions of dollars. And yet, you have tents all over the place. And you have — you really have a sanitary condition, because this water is rushing into the ocean and this is supposed to be storm water. It’s not supposed to be sewage. And it’s turning out to be sewage.
“And if these Democrat, liberal politicians don’t straighten it out, the federal government will have to come in. We’re not going to lose cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and others that are great cities. We’re not going to allow that to happen to our cities.”
And on Air Force One on Tuesday night, Trump told reporters, according to the pool report, “that his administration will slap the city of San Francisco with a notice of environmental violations within about a week related to its homelessness problem.
“He said tremendous pollution was flowing into the ocean because of waste in storm sewers, citing specifically used needles.
“It’s a terrible situation — that’s in Los Angeles and in San Francisco,” he said. “And we’re going to be giving San Francisco — they’re in total violation — we’re going to be giving them a notice very soon.”
“EPA is going to be putting out a notice,” he said. “They’re in serious violation.”
He added, “They have to clean it up. We can’t have our cities going to hell.”
The Trump attacks on these blue cities in blue states is a canny tactic.
It’s another distraction to open up more fronts to further exhaust Democrats while at the same time rally and expand his base. It takes attention away from Trump’s own scandals, lies, turnover, his inability to get Mexico to pay for his wall and his shredding apart government norms and institutions.
It’s a strategy that worked for Trump before and may work again.