Trump tweeted the comments in July, specifically referring to Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings’ district, which includes parts of Baltimore, a place where “no human being would want to live.”
When asked what his message is to the people of Baltimore, Trump said ahead of his speech that he looked “forward” to going to the city, but did not address the question further, instead turning attention to the Republican Party.
“I look forward to it. We’re going to be with Republican congressmen and I think it’s gonna be a very successful evening. We had a tremendous election on Tuesday,” the President said ahead of his departure from the White House Thursday evening.
Trump’s previous comments about Baltimore being unlivable sparked a weeks-long back-and-forth between Trump and Cummings, who oversees multiple investigations of Trump and top administration officials as House Oversight chairman.
But Trump’s White House staff and his campaign staff have all continued to defend what the President has said about the city. And in late July, Trump said he doesn’t regret criticizing politicians’ handling of the Baltimore and denied assertions that his critiques were racist.
Cummings told CNN’s Manu Raju that he hopes Trump enjoys his time in the city.
“I hope he has a pleasant visit. I hope he gets a chance to see quite a bit of Baltimore. It’s a beautiful city — a lot of hard working people,” Cummings said Thursday.
When Trump arrives at the retreat just outside of Cummings’ district in Baltimore, he will likely be met by demonstrators protesting his policies at a park a block away from his speaking venue.
Just days before Trump’s rodent tweet, Cummings’ panel approved subpoenas for work-related texts and emails on White House officials’ personal devices, putting Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump in the committee’s sights. Trump has told people he believes his children, who are also government employees, are being unfairly targeted.
After the tweets criticizing the state of Baltimore, Trump called for for Cummings to use the resources of the House Oversight Committee to investigate Baltimore’s corruption.
“Billions and billions of dollars have been given to Baltimore. It’s been misspent, it’s been missing, it’s been stolen with a lot of corrupt government. And as you know Cummings has been in charge,” Trump said in late July, “Now, I will say this, I think that Representative Cummings should take his Oversight Committee and start doing oversight on Baltimore.”
This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.
CNN’s Allie Malloy, Chandelis Duster and Manu Raju contributed to this report.