Residents of Baltimore are working to showcase the best that their hometown has to offer, just days after President Trump described the city as a "a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess."
Trump's epithets came amid a Twitter tirade against Baltimore's congressional Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who chairs the House Oversight Committee and has been a staunch critic of the president.
"His district is considered the Worst in the USA," Trump added. "If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place." The president also took a hit at residents of Baltimore.
Cummings dismissed the president's critique, saying in a tweet "each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors."
The city, moreover, has soundly rejected the president's characterization.
"People are furious, of course. People know that Baltimore is not how [Trump] describes it," Greg Tucker, the co-founder of the forthcoming website We Are Baltimore told Cheddar. "Indeed Baltimore has challenges. Indeed Baltimore has suffered years of underinvestment in critical neighborhoods… yet too often Baltimore is characterized solely by our worst elements."
"We Are Baltimore," which was in the works before Trump's tweets, will aggregate stories from residents and thriving local businesses to counter the negative narrative of the city.
It will "provide a definitive platform where we can aggregate and amplify the many positives, the many assets of Baltimore," Tucker added.
In a statement, Baltimore's Mayor Bernard C. Jack Young also slammed the president for using "hurtful and dangerous" rhetoric to "denigrate a vibrant American City."
Trump is "a disappointment to the people of Baltimore, our country, and to the world," Young added.
Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one.
The president's invocation of rodents and infestations to describe a city that is more than 60 percent black was widely rebuked as using racist terms that have been historically used to demonize minorities.
Civil rights icon Reverend Al Sharpton said from a press conference in Baltimore on Monday that Trump had attacked the city in "the most bigoted and racist way."
"He has a particular venom for blacks and people of color," Sharpton said. "He doesn't refer to any of his other opponents or critics as infested."
Trump said "Democrats always play the Race Card" and criticized Sharpton as a "a con man, a troublemaker" on Twitter ahead of the press conference. He also doubled down early Monday morning on his critique of Cummings, who has represented Maryland's 7th congressional district since 1996. "25 years of all talk, no action!" Trump tweeted.
Several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) — whose campaign is headquartered in Baltimore — condemned Trump's remarks.
Yet the most scathing rebuke came from the Baltimore Sun's editorial board, which wrote "Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one."
Trending on Twitter over the weekend was #TrumpIsARat.
In a statement to Cheddar, Twitter confirmed that Trump's tweets do not violate the platform's rules regarding the use of dehumanizing language.