Newspaper editors in a town Donald Trump labelled "disgusting rat and rodent-infested" say they'd rather have vermin in their town than be one.
The scintillating retort from The Baltimore Sun came after the US President targeted Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland's 7th congressional district.
"His district is considered the Worst in the USA," Trump wrote on Twitter, "Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place [sic]... No human being would want to live there."
In an editorial published at the weekend, the editors of The Baltimore Sun pulled no punches in their defence of Cummings, who has represented the predominantly African-American district since 1996.
"The Congressman has been a thorn in this President's side, and Mr Trump sees attacking African American members of Congress as good politics, as it both warms the cockles of the white supremacists who love him and causes so many of the thoughtful people who don't to scream.
"President Trump bad-mouthed Baltimore in order to make a point that the border camps are 'clean, efficient & well run', which, of course, they are not - unless you are fine with all the overcrowding, squalor, cages and deprivation to be found in what the Department of Homeland Security's own inspector-general recently called 'a ticking time bomb'."
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The editors went on to say they surprised Trump didn't fall back on "bigoted" racist tropes such as "you people" or "welfare queens", and that he didn't tell Cummings to "go back" to where he came from, like he did to four women earlier this month (three of whom were born in the US, and the fourth who came to the country as a refugee in the 1990s when she was a child).
The final paragraph twisted the knife.
"We would tell the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women's private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are 'good people' among murderous neo-Nazis that he’s still not fooling most Americans into believing he's even slightly competent in his current post. Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity.
"Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one."
The tirade, the latest in a series Trump has launched against non-white Democrat politicians, was quickly labelled racist by Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi. Trump responded by calling his critics racist, and retweeting high-profile British racist Katie Hopkins, who called Baltimore a "proper shithole".