President Donald Trump escalated his attacks on Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) Friday with a tweet about a burglary of the congressman’s Baltimore home.
Cummings’ home was broken into Saturday morning, according to local news reports, several hours before Trump began tweeting racist insults about Cummings and his majority-black congressional district, which includes much of Baltimore.
“Really bad news!” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday, the day after Baltimore media outlets reported the break-in. “Too bad!”
The president tried to walk back the tweet later Friday afternoon, telling reporters that the tweet wasn’t meant to be sarcastic.
“The tweet itself was just really a repeat of what I heard on the news,” Trump said. “I know his house was robbed and I thought that was too bad.”
Trump began his onslaught against Cummings on Twitter several hours after the burglary, calling him a “brutal bully” and Baltimore a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and a “very dangerous & filthy place.” In the days since, the president has repeatedly returned to racist themes to renew his attack on the congressman.
At a Thursday night rally in Cincinnati, Trump again brought up Baltimore, using the city’s high crime as a punchline.
Cummings chairs the House Oversight Committee, which is among several congressional panels investigating Trump and his administration.
Police told Baltimore CBS affiliate WJZ on Thursday that investigators were unsure if any of Cummings’ property was stolen. Detectives had no suspects.
Cummings’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s latest tweet.
He did, however, issue a statement on Friday addressing the burglary.
“An individual attempted to gain entry into my residence at approximately 3:40 AM on Saturday, July 27,” Cummings said. “I was notified of the intrusion by my security system, and I scared the intruder away by yelling before the person gained entry into the residential portion of the house. I thank the Baltimore Police Department for their response and ask that all further inquiries be directed to them.”
This article has been updated to include a statement from Cummings and later remarks from Trump.
Carla Herreria contributed to this report.