Local leaders mourn after death of Rep. Elijah Cummings

Cheryl Sanders
October 18, 2019

Elijah E Cummings, a senior Democrat who was a key player in the Trump impeachment inquiry, has died aged 68.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a congressman before becoming one of Trump's most trusted advisers, called Cummings a "dedicated public servant" in a Twitter post.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was left in tears Thursday by the death of House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md.

Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said Cummings' death "leaves an irreplaceable void in our hearts, in our Maryland and in our Congress".

In another high-profile moment earlier this year, Cummings stood up for Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, one of the President's closest allies and staunchest defenders in Congress, in the face of accusations of racism. "When we hear those words about carnage and we are living in depressed situations, I told him it was very hurtful". His office said he had undergone a recent medical procedure. Congressman Elijah Cummings was a friend, a passionate fighter for justice, and a powerful voice of moral conscience in our government who served his country for decades with dignity and integrity. The 68-year-old hasn't taken part in a roll call vote since September 11.

A well-known member and past chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Cummings served in the House of Representatives for 22 years, along the way earning a reputation as an eloquent defender of progressive political values - values he learned while growing up in the segregated city of Baltimore during the era of Jim Crow in the 1950s and 60s.

Although he was chairman of the Oversight Committee, he had not been in command of the investigations on his panel.

Hours before his passing, staffers drove the subpoenas to Baltimore for Cummings' signature, said a Democratic committee aide. He became not only a lawyer, but one of the most powerful orators in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he entered office in 1983.

In a tweet, Trump offered his "warmest condolences" to the friends and family of the veteran representative for Maryland's 7th Congressional district.

Cummings was quick to note the differences between Congress and the Maryland General Assembly, which has always been controlled by Democrats. The ordeal kept him out of office for two months.

He cruised to big victories in the overwhelmingly Democratic district, which had elected Maryland's first black congressman, Parren Mitchell, in 1970.

Mayor de Blasio said in a statement that Cumming's "was the definition of America".

"Like I tell my constituents, "Don't get it twisted. That's all I want", Cummings said, quoting from the Bible".

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