WASHINGTON – The mayor of Baltimore is asking President Donald Trump to stay home ahead of a planned trip to Fort McHenry for Memorial Day, calling it “not a smart thing to do” as the city remains on lockdown over the coronavirus.
“That President Trump is deciding to pursue non-essential travel sends the wrong message to our residents, many of whom have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 virus,” Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young said in a statement Thursday.
Trump is scheduled on Monday to visit the city’s Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, which has been closed to all visitors since late March due to the coronavirus. While Maryland began phasing out its statewide “stay-at-home” order last week, the city of Baltimore’s is still in place. Young told CNN on Friday he got no heads-up about Trump’s visit.
“Dear Mr. President @realDonaldTrump, please stay home!” Young said on Twitter Thursday.
The office of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, however, said it was an honor that the president and first lady are scheduled to visit Fort McHenry. Monday is also the governor’s birthday, his office said, which he plans to spend with family.
“Although Marylanders are encouraged not to gather in large numbers this year – now more than ever – it’s important to reflect on the American heroes who sacrificed their lives for our freedom,” his office said in a statement, according to CBS Baltimore.
Young urged the president to honor the sacrifices of military personnel from Washington instead. A spokesperson for the White House, Judd Deere, said in a statement that Trump will not stay home.
“The brave men and women who have preserved our freedoms for generations did not stay home and the President will not either as he honors their sacrifice by visiting such a historic landmark in our Nation’s history,” Deere said.
Young said personnel and equipment for the president’s visit will come with “a price tag that our City, which is still dealing with the loss of roughly $20 million in revenue per month, simply can’t afford to shoulder.”
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“I’m asking the president to rethink his trip. It sends a bad message to the citizens of Baltimore because I’m asking them to stay home and only come out for an essential reason, and we have a president that’s coming to a city that he just berated over a year ago,” Young told CNN.
Last July, Trump took to Twitter to go after the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died in October. Trump called Baltimore a “rodent infested mess” and “a dangerous & filthy place,” prompting an outcry from Democratic lawmakers who called his remarks racist.
“No human being would want to live there,” Trump said.
At the time, Young called Trump “a disappointment to the people of Baltimore, our country, and to the world.”
Now, Young says his disapproval of Trump’s city visit isn’t personal, but that he is concerned over the spread of the coronavirus in Baltimore. The city has had over 200 deaths due to the virus, Young said. It has seen over 4,000 cases, according to Maryland data.
“I’m just hoping the president will rethink this, because it’s not a smart thing to do,” Young said Friday.