I am writing to express my dismay at President Donald Trump’s comments describing a majority African-American congressional district in Maryland as disgusting and filthy and a place where no human being would want to live. Ironically, the president also characterized the district’s African-American representative as a brutal bully. These comments were reminiscent of the president’s deriding, with the use of profanity, African countries and Haiti. And they come on the heels of racist attacks on four members of Congress. These examples can be added to a longrunning list of the president’s racist words and deeds (housing discrimination, birtherism, demonization of people of color as sub-human criminals).

U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber’s response to the president’s attacks on his four congressional colleagues was to take the high road and bemoan the distraction caused by name-calling from all sides. Bafflingly, he appeared to draw a moral equivalence between calling someone a racist and actually making a racist attack on someone (“Stauber calls Trump controversy ‘distraction’,” July 17).

Rep. Stauber can no longer place himself above this. The president is, by definition, a racist and is systematically using racism to divide our country. There is no other way of framing his behavior. I appeal to Stauber’s patriotism and decency and respectfully ask that he condemn as racist the president’s attacks on the citizens and representative of an American congressional district.

John Morrice