Trump Responds to Death of Elijah Cummings: 'Strength, Passion, and Wisdom'
President Donald Trump on Thursday saluted one of the fiercest critics of his administration after hearing the news that House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings of Maryland had died early Thursday at the age of 68.
“My warmest 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,” Trump tweeted.
“His work and voice on so many fronts will be very hard, if not impossible, to replace!”
My warmest 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. His work and voice on so many fronts will be very hard, if not impossible, to replace!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2019
Cummings died at 2:30 a.m. at Gilchrist Hospice Care “due to complications concerning longstanding health challenges,” according to his office. Cummings had been in ill health in recent years.
Trump and Cummings had tangled over the summer when Trump attacked the lack of progress addressing long-standing urban issues in Baltimore, Maryland.
At the time, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley had urged all sides to set politics and personalities aside for the good of the people of the community.
“Instead of all of this back and forth about who everyone thinks is racist and whose not, the President just offered to help the people of Baltimore,” Haley tweeted at the time. “They should take him up on it. Let’s put the same energy into where it will make a difference.”
Instead of all of this back and forth about who everyone thinks is racist and whose not, the President just offered to help the people of Baltimore. They should take him up on it. Let’s put the same energy into where it will make a difference. ??
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) July 30, 2019
Although Cummings was a steadfast liberal and staunch supporter of former President Barack Obama, he also had personal friendships with Republicans.
That aspect of his personality came to the forefront in February, when Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan accused House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina of being racist.
Cummings at the time said he could “see and feel” Meadows’ pain and called him “one of my best friends” when the North Carolina Republican defended himself from the charge, according to NBC News.
Meadows was among the Republicans voicing their condolences after Cummings died.
There was no stronger advocate and no better friend than Elijah Cummings. I am heartbroken for his wonderful family and staff—please pray for them.
I will miss him dearly.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) October 17, 2019
“There was no stronger advocate and no better friend than Elijah Cummings,” Meadows tweeted Thursday. “I am heartbroken for his wonderful family and staff — please pray for them. I will miss him dearly.”
Other GOP figures also praised Cummings.
Elijah Cummings and the journey he forged was among the most remarkable and consequential. His whole life, he worked to right injustices present in communities across the country. Judy and I pray for his family and all who were touched by Elijah throughout his incredible life.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) October 17, 2019
Rest in peace Elijah Cummings, a dedicated public servant and a good man. I pray for his family, loved ones and staff during this difficult time.
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) October 17, 2019
During the House investigation into the Benghazi disaster that led to the loss of American lives, Cummings clashed briefly with then-House Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.
Gowdy later said he respected Cummings despite their differences.
“It’s not about politics to him; he says what he believes,” Gowdy said at the time, according to The Washington Post. “And you can tell the ones who are saying it because it was in a memo they got that morning, and you can tell the ones who it’s coming from their soul. And with Mr. Cummings, it’s coming from his soul.”
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