The Washington Post, August 1, 2019: Years before Trump’s attacks, Freddie Gray’s death sparked a huge effort to heal Baltimore. It wasn’t enough.
The meeting in the Roosevelt Room felt urgent and intense.
Freddie Gray was dead, another black man fatally wounded in an interaction with police. After his funeral, Baltimore burned on live television. Gray had quickly become a national symbol of urban neglect and a rallying cry for change.
Donald Trump was a private citizen at the time, building his political brand and tweeting that if he were in charge of Baltimore, he would “fix it real fast.”
The Obama White House was already attempting to do just that. It had convened Cabinet secretaries, top advisers and Maryland leaders to work on repairing the deep wounds in one of America’s oldest majority-black cities and remedy decades of racial disparities.
Four years later, in the midst of a reelection campaign, President Trump has made Baltimore his latest foil, blaming Cummings and other Democrats for its high crime and entrenched poverty.