UBC president Santa Ono defends Maryland's 7th congressional district in wake of vicious Trump tweets

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      Rep. Elijah Cummings has an unexpected ally as he defends his Maryland congressional district against repeated insults over Twitter from the president of the United States.

      This weekend, Donald Trump claimed that this area of Baltimore "is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States".

      The U.S. president also purported that the 7th district is a "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" and that "no human being would want to live there."

      Try telling that to Santa Ono, president of the University of British Columbia.

      "I'm proud to have lived and worked in the 7th district of Baltimore during my years on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University," Ono tweeted.

      Ono spent part of his upbringing and attended high school in the Baltimore suburb of Towson, which is in Maryland's 3rd Congressional district.

      After obtaining a PhD from McGill and doing postdoctoral work at Harvard, Ono became an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University. He worked there from 1992 to 1996.

      Ono left to join the Harvard Medical School.

      In 2015, he was inducted into the Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars—a year before he became president and vice-chancellor at UBC.

      Donald Trump's tweetstorm condemned Elijah Cummings for his outspoken criticism of the Department of Homeland Security.

      Criticism of Homeland Security triggered Trump

      Cummings, an African American, chairs the House oversight committee. 

      Trump's attacks the veteran Congressman came after he spoke passionately about the value of the House intelligence and judiciary committees hearing testimony from former special counsel Robert Mueller.

      In addition, Trump was trying to shift attention to Cummings's district after the Congressman delivered devastating public statements about the Department of Homeland Security's detention of children.

      This video shows more of Elijah Cummings's concerns about the actions of the Department of Homeland Security.

      Following Mueller's testimony, Cummings pointed out in a news conference that Justin Amash, a Republican Congressman from Michigan, had received a round of applause in his district after calling for Trump's impeachment.

      But that wasn't what stood out for Cummings.

      "What really got me was when a lady at the end of the town-hall meeting said 'I didn't know that there was anything negative in the Mueller report about President Trump.' That says a lot," he insisted. "And to her credit, our speaker [Nancy Pelosi] made it clear that we need to paint a picture for America so that they could fully understand what is going on.

      "This is a critical moment in our country's history. Don't be fooled. And it is a moment which people will be talking about 300, 400, 500 years from now.

      "And they're going to ask the question: what did you do when we had a president who knew the rules and knew that our founding fathers had done a great job of creating a constitution—and had put in all of the guard rails—but never anticipated that we would have a president that would just throw away the guard rails?" Cummings continued. "And that's why what happened today is so critical. It was a giant step in making sure that the American people got a picture of all of this and hopefully, will look towards the future and say 'We're not going to have this.' "

      Cummings said that people sometimes say that he dislikes Trump, but he emphasized that his concerns run much deeper than that.

      "It's not about liking the president," Cummings emphasized. "It's about loving democracy. It's about loving our country.

      "It's about making a difference for generations yet unborn. That's what this is all about. And I'm begging, I'm begging the American people to pay attention to what is going on because if you want to have a democracy intact for your children and your children's children—and generations yet unborn—we have got to guard this moment. This is our watch."

      House Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Elizabeth Warren have each characterized Trump's social-media comments about Cummings and his congressional district as "racist".

      Amash, the Republican cited by Cummings, also tweeted his disapproval.