Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a sharecropper’s son who rose to become a civil rights champion and the chairman of one of the U.S. House committees leading an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, died Thursday of complications from long-standing health problems. He was 68.
Cummings was a formidable orator who advocated for the poor in his black-majority district, which encompasses a large portion of Baltimore and more well-to-do suburbs.
As chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Cummings led investigations of the president’s governmental dealings, including probes in 2019 relating to Trump’s family members serving in the White House.
Trump criticized the Democrat’s district as a “rodent-infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.” The comments came weeks after Trump drew bipartisan condemnation following his calls for Democratic congresswomen of color to get out of the U.S. “right now,” and go back to their “broken and crime-infested countries.”
Cummings replied that government officials must stop making “hateful, incendiary comments” that distract the nation from its real problems, including mass shootings and white supremacy.
“Those in the highest levels of the government must stop invoking fear, using racist language and encouraging reprehensible behavior,” Cummings said.
On Thursday morning, Trump tweeted his “condolences to the family and many friends of Congressman Elijah Cummings. I got to see first hand the strength, passion and wisdom of this highly respected political leader.” The brief tweet made no reference to past feuds. (AP)