Remember When Trump Called Baltimore Rat Infested? He Should Know Since He Tried to End the City’s Federal Rat Control Funding

Pedestrians stop and take photos of a 15-foot tall inflatable rat in the likeness of U.S. President Donald Trump at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 59th Street up the road from Trump Tower, August 14, 2017 in New York City.
Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

The president of white nationalism has a tendency to talk badly about places where people of color live. He reportedly called African nations “shithole countries” and more recently, referred to Baltimore as “rat-infested.” Well, it turns out President Splinter was well-informed of Baltimore’s rat problems considering he tried to cut their rat-elimination funding.

For those who may have forgotten—because a Trump news cycle is about 45 minutes—Trump engaged in a Twitter fuss-fight with Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings after Cummings was critical of the way Trump’s administration treated immigrants. Trump used the legitimate attack against his presidency to wage an all-out war on the city of Baltimore.

From the Baltimore Sun:

In March, the White House proposed eliminating the Community Development Block Grant, which is the primary funding source for Baltimore’s public housing rat-elimination program among several other housing programs across the city and country.

Baltimore’s rat program, called HEAL, or the Healthy Elimination of All Pests Longterm, has slashed active burrows across Baltimore’s public housing from 1,836 in 2017 when the program began, to 143 as of the timing of Trump’s tweets at the end of July.

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An aside, as this is important to note and also because it’s mind-boggling: “Rats can have sex 21 times a day. A 5-week-old rat can get pregnant and have up to 12 rat babies. Then her babies can have babies.” And, since the Trump administration is firmly against abortions, “A breeding pair of rats can produce 15,000 offspring in one year, according to experts,” the Baltimore Sun notes.

Baltimore’s Housing Authority depends on federal funding to keep the HEAL program active. In its first two years, the program received $300,000 and has applied for an additional $50,000 to keep the program going, the Sun reports.

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“The successful control of rats has to be consistent,” said Ken Strong, a special assistant at the Housing Authority tasked with eliminating rodents in public housing. “You have to stay on top of them because they spread so quickly and are so resilient.”

The same could be said about the Trump administration.

Turns out that whole thing was been there, done rat, as the program received its funding after Congress passed an appropriations bill.

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“The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development still has to approve funding for the rat program this year, according to a city spokesperson. Dr. Ben Carson, Baltimore’s former star surgeon and current secretary of HUD, reportedly had little to say at an April congressional hearing in response to the bipartisan criticism of the administration’s budget slashing.”

A spokesperson for the department told the Baltimore Sun that the approval of HEAL is largely administrative, they believe it will be approved again.

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About the author

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.