"Come to Baltimore. Do not just criticize us but come to Baltimore and I promise you you will be welcome. I promise you we will get you every bit of hospitality we've got because every time you come to Baltimore, every time you spend a few dollars in a hotel that means somebody in this neighborhood is working. It gives them a job. It gives them hope."
"The president is welcome in our district to go through the 7th congressional district and he will see a strong people who get up and they go out to work on the early bus. When I leave here at home usually at five o'clock in the morning, they're standing on the bus stop. And sometimes I see them at night when I get back. You'll see people, you see organizations that have come to the inner city of Baltimore like neighborhoods like this and did not ask the question - did not go around criticizing but they said how can we help. And they have helped and so I welcome the president I would love to see him."
Democratic US House representative Elijah Cummings took the high road Saturday, inviting President Donald Trump and other Americans to visit Baltimore but not responding in kind to the barrage of presidential tweets and other comments disparaging him and the majority-black city he has long represented.
"We are a great community," Cummings, the chairman of the powerful House Oversight committee investigating the administration, said in his first public remarks about the controversy as he participated in the midday opening of a small neighborhood park.
Community leaders and residents gathered to cut the ribbon on a pocket of greenery and flowers, built from what had been a vacant lot often used as a dumping ground for trash.
"Come to Baltimore. Do not just criticize us, but come to Baltimore and I promise you, you will be welcomed," he said.
Cummings said he doesn't have time for those who criticize the city where he grew up but wants to hear from people willing to help make the community better. He noted the outpouring of support he has received, thousands of emails, and the presence at the event of leaders from the University of Maryland's medical center, foundations and businesses. He wore a hat and polo shirt of Under Armour, the popular apparel maker headquartered in Baltimore.
Asked directly by reporters afterward if there would be a meeting with Trump, the congressman said he'd love to see Trump in the city.
"The president is welcome to our district," he said.