Harrisburg Outraged After Trump Calls City a “War Zone”

Donald Trump is in a feud with an entire city this time.

City of Harrisburg / Donald Trump split photo

Harrisburg photo by kev72 (license); Trump photo by Michael Vadon (license)

Donald Trump has had a busy week. But even with all of that going on, he also appeared at a rally in Mechanicsburg, just eight miles west of Harrisburg. And a protester was “roughed up” at it, per a video circulating online. Sounds like a Trump rally!

Yesterday, the Donald spoke about Harrisburg at a rally in Northern Virginia. He said, when driving through the city, it “looked like a war zone.”

Comparing an American city to a war zone is a relatively common rhetorical tactic, though it usually comes as a specific comparison to, say, Baghdad or, when I was a kid, Beirut. (Yes, the comparison is generally used with a city that is a war zone because the United States helped make it one.) Trump used the marginally nicer, more generalized “war zone” comparison. It’s, obviously, a pretty mean thing to say about a city — especially one that you just passed through, and don’t really know anything about.

As you can imagine, Harrisburg’s city government is pretty pissed off about this comment. Yesterday, city spokeswoman Joyce Davis released a statement:

Mr. Trump has made an unfortunate mistake in disparaging Pennsylvania’s capital city after a mere glance from the window of his airplane. Harrisburg is renowned as the heart of our commonwealth and a capital of unique beauty and charm. It is also home to thousands of people who take immense pride in their city and its coveted location on the banks of the Susquehanna River.

Mr. Trump should know that Harrisburg and its residents are an integral part of the United States, which he is vying to lead. Its rich history and natural beauty have won both the respect and acclaim of some of America’s greatest leaders and patriots.

Considering he’s been fighting with the parents of a soldier killed in action in Iraq for almost a week, perhaps Trump will take on the city of Harrisburg next.

But he may want to steer clear of this battle. Harrisburg has some staunch defenders.

“Harrisburg has amazing parks, restaurants, theater and nightlife,” Lawrance Binda wrote in The Burg, a monthly community magazine. “It has a professional baseball team, an incredible river, a vibrant community market, the country’s most beautiful statehouse and plenty of history. It is so much more than a crime story. It’s a city worthy of time, understanding, exploration.”

Follow @dhm on Twitter.