Photo sourced from @realDonaldTrump, Truth Social

Donald Trump has trash-talked a lot of American cities, including his hometown of New York. But he seems to have a particularly dim view of Atlanta.

“I hear,” the former president wrote on Truth Social over the weekend, “that RACIST Fulton County [Atlanta] District Attorney ‘Phoney’ Fani Willis, who weakly presides over one of the deadliest communities in the U.S., with thousands of murderers, violent criminals & gang members roaming the streets while going untried, free, & are treated with “kid gloves,” is using a potential Indictment of me, and other innocent people, as a campaign and fundraising CON JOB, all based on a PERFECT PHONE CALL, AS PRESIDENT, CHALLENGING ELECTION FRAUD — MY DUTY & RIGHT!”

In another post, Trump expanded his claim to say Atlanta has become “one of the most dangerous cities anywhere in the world.” The threat of another indictment has given Trump cause to get worked up, but this is not the first time he has singled out Atlanta for such invective. Feuding with former U.S. Rep. John Lewis in 2017, Trump tweeted that Lewis “should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested).”

In a rare case of a former president getting involved in municipal politics, Trump was a vocal supporter of the Buckhead City movement, led by his New York pal Bill White. That’s how much he dislikes the ATL.

For the record, the homicide rate has fallen dramatically this year in Atlanta, as it has in other big cities around the country. The death toll is still too high, but Atlanta is a long way from being among the most dangerous cities in the world.

Going strictly by homicide rates, Atlanta shakes out as a safer city than St. Petersburg, Fla., but more dangerous than New York City. That’s not a misprint. Real crime statistics are often at odds with public perceptions of crime.

Atlanta usually ranks mid to low in these rankings of homicides by city. Even that is something of a distortion because these rankings usually include only the largest American cities. If cities like Macon, Montgomery and Baton Rouge were included, Atlanta would fall even further down the list of the nation’s most dangerous places.

But if it doesn’t really have the worst homicide rate, Atlanta does have a place in the nation’s consciousness that makes it different. It’s a city that is more about how African-Americans have arrived than how whites have left. For all its failings, Atlanta is perceived across the country as a success story, one which Trump often seems intent on knocking down.

There are Georgians who wouldn’t dream of getting off the interstate inside I-285, who don’t think Trump’s characterization of coddled thugs roaming the Atlanta streets is much of an exaggeration. Tex McIver’s tortured explanation for how he came to shoot his wife from the back seat of their van begins with his panicked terror when he wakes to find the van has turned off the interstate onto the downtown Atlanta streets.

Maybe McIver thought that defense would strike a familiar chord in his jurors, and maybe Trump thinks trash-talking Atlanta will drive his base to an even higher pitch of outrage. But the increasing stridency of his Truth Social salvos only had the effect of speeding up the calendar at the Fulton County Court House, where the indictments were were widely expected to come on Tuesday were delivered before midnight Monday.

Trump’s charge in a televised interview and a campaign ad that Willis had an affair with a gang leader she was prosecuting should have received more attention than it has, but it’s a sign of how much the political debate has been coarsened that it went by last week as just another development.

The closest thing to a fact in Trump’s charge uncovered so far is that when Willis was a private attorney, she represented a co-founder of the One Stoner Life record label, who later gave an interview to Rolling Stone. He expressed disappointment that Willis was prosecuting Young Thug, the label’s other co-founder, and said she’d changed from the times when she had “auntie-to-nephew, mother-to-son type of talks” with him. That’s it.
Willis sent a note to her staff instructing them to keep their powder dry, but soon we should see plenty of fireworks.

Featured image sourced from Truth Social

Tom Baxter has written about politics and the South for more than four decades. He was national editor and chief political correspondent at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and later edited The Southern...

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1 Comment

  1. I am glad Trump and his crime family members are coming to the City. Perhaps, like other indicted people, they will get to visit the Fulton County jail. Up close and personal!

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