"Local government is failing in Baltimore," former deputy U.S. attorney general Rosenstein told Politico on Monday.
Rosenstein, who was closely connected to Baltimore as U.S. Attorney for Maryland from 2005 to 2017 and as as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Maryland in the late 1990s and early 2000s, was asked by Politico for a response to President Donald Trump's heated and controversial rhetoric about the city's crime problems.
Although he did not did not comment directly on Trump's claim Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., is responsible for his city's violence problem, Rosenstein did appear to support some of the president's message the city's political leaders have failed at their job.
"The best things the government can do to help people are to provide a more effective law enforcement system and a more effective education system," Rosenstien said. "They need to make the streets safe for law-abiding citizens and allow motivated students to leave failed schools and get a good education. That will only happen if voters hold elected local officials accountable for crime and education. People get the government they vote for."
Even when pressed about Trump's description of Cummings' Baltimore-based district as "a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess," Rosenstein refused to relate to it.
However, Rosenstein, who lives in Bethesda, has repeatedly connected the rise in violent crime in Baltimore to perceptions by police the city's political leaders did not want proactive law enforcement and attributed the increase in the city's homicides to a decision "to cut back on policing and prosecution."
He also has argued some decisions implemented after police-involved shootings or allegations of discriminatory policing have led to police abandoning legitimate techniques to prevent crime.
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