LEWISVILLE — U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess said he does not think Donald Trump went too far when the president called Rep. Elijah Cummings’ Baltimore home district “rat infested” and one of the “worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States,” calling it “FAR WORSE and more dangerous” than the U.S. border with Mexico.
In a series of tweets and statements, the president has criticized Cummings in what many are saying is a racist attack against a Democratic congressman and his predominantly black district.
Asked by a constituent at a town hall meeting in Lewisville on Tuesday night if he wishes the president would stop making such remarks, Burgess said no, and that Trump did the right thing.
“No, I think the president acted appropriately, defending his acting secretary of homeland security who was being berated as a witness in a congressional hearing,” said Burgess, R-Pilot Point.
The overall point of the constituent’s question was to ask why Burgess, and Republican Congress members in general, are rarely heard condemning the president.
“You’re silent, you don’t say anything,” the man said.
During Tuesday’s meeting at Westside Baptist Church, every person who stood in line to ask a question got time to ask it. The congressman extended the scheduled one-hour town hall to roughly an hour and a half to allow everybody to ask a question (or make a statement). That’s not to say the congressman answered everybody’s questions, at least in the way they had hoped.
Burgess has already said he would not have voted for House Resolution 489, which condemned Trump’s other racist tweets earlier this month, when the president told Democratic congresswomen of color to “go back” where they came from. Burgess was in Dallas for a funeral the day of that vote.
At the start of his summer recess for the month of August, Burgess was back in North Texas on Tuesday, and on another issue fell in line with Trump. The congressman said he will not be among the growing number of lawmakers who are calling for an impeachment inquiry into Trump.
One constituent asked Burgess specifically why the 10 possible instances in which Trump may have obstructed justice, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, do not warrant impeachment.
“To answer your first question,” Burgess said, “I will not be joining those people who are asking for an inquiry. I don’t believe that it happened.”
Burgess’ belief in what is happening versus what’s being reported extended to the immigration debate as well Tuesday night.
The congressman recently visited the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facility in Clint. After Democrats, child legal advocates and journalists from independent news outlets toured the facility and reported major health and hygiene concerns for the migrant children detained there, Burgess went himself and reported seeing no poor conditions.
“It just seems questionable when so many news outlets are reporting this,” one constituent on Tuesday said to Burgess, who was talking about how the conditions inside Clint and other facilities are good enough for the migrants.
“The reason I went to Clint was, yeah, it was disturbing report — is this accurate?” Burgess said. “My understanding, after going there, the reporters who went to Clint only interviewed children in the conference room … but they did not walk the facility, and I did. And what I saw was entirely different than what’s been reported.”
“There’s something wrong with that!” one person yelled from the crowd.