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President Donald Trump on Friday used Twitter to offer sympathy — or a sharp serving of sarcasm — to his foe Rep. Elijah Cummings for a recent attempted burglary at the Baltimore home of the Maryland Democrat.
"Really bad news! The Baltimore house of Elijah Cummings was robbed," Trump wrote in a tweet a day after the first reports about last Saturday morning's break-in.
"Too bad!" concluded the president, who for the past week has been firing verbal and written shots at Cummings.
A White House spokesman did not immediately respond when asked whether Trump intended for his tweet to be sarcastic or sympathetic.
Trump later told reporters Friday that "the tweet itself was just really a repeat of what I heard over the news. I know his house was robbed and I thought that was too bad. That was really just, that was really not meant as a wise guy tweet."
Nikki Haley, a former Republican governor of South Carolina who was Trump's first ambassador to the United Nations, replied to the president's tweet with one of her own, writing, "This is so unnecessary." She punctuated her tweet with an "eye-rolling" emoji.
Trump's senior advisor, Kellyanne Conway, then fired back with a response to Haley's tweet that while clearly directed at her former colleague in the Trump administration awkwardly could be read as a comment about the president's reelection campaign.
Meanwhile on Friday, Cummings issued a statement about the incident, which occurred hours before Trump launched a Twitter attack on the House Oversight Committee chairman and the city of Baltimore that Democrats have blasted as racist.
"An individual attempted to gain entry into my residence at approximately 3:40 AM on Saturday, July 27," Cummings said.
"I was notified of the intrusion by my security system, and I scared the intruder away by yelling before the person gained entry into the residential portion of the house," he said.
"I thank the Baltimore Police Department for their response and ask that all further inquiries be directed to them."
Cops said Thursday that they were investigating the report of a burglary at Cummings' home.
Police also said that "at this time, it is unknown if any property was taken from the location."
Trump and the general public were unaware of the break-in last Saturday when the president fired off two tweets aimed at Cummings, calling his congressional district "a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess."
"If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous and filthy place," Trump wrote.
The senior Democrat has angered the Republican president for his investigations of the Trump administration, and for his recent criticism of the Homeland Security Department's handling of conditions on the border with Mexico.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other Democrats quickly blasted Trump's comments as "racist" and "dangerous."
A number of commentators also pointed out that Trump has repeatedly used the word "infested " when referring to Democratic politicians of color. Cummings is black.
In July, Trump used his Twitter account to urge four freshman Democratic House members of color "who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe" to "go back" to "help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."
That tweet, like the one about Cummings, sparked strong criticism of Trump, with the president defending his comments in the following days.
Of the four congresswoman whom Trump attacked, just one, Rep. Ilhan Omar, is from another country. She left Somalia when she was 6 years old and became an American citizen when she was 17.
The other House members, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, were all born in the United States.