No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings’ death on Thursday was tragic. Cummings, the head of the powerful House Oversight Committee, was just 68 when he passed away.
Sadly, Cummings’ passing proved one of the most unfortunate axioms of our political age: If you’re a politician, your death won’t be about your accomplishments but how you reflected on President Donald Trump.
John McCain was remembered as a GOP maverick who stood up to the president and represented a bygone GOP that America could feel good about — even though the press attacked him in the same language that they use on Donald Trump when McCain was the 2008 Republican presidential nominee.
George H.W. Bush was a noble, civil patrician who represented a bygone GOP that America could feel good about — again, even though they savaged him with the same labels they used on President Trump.
Ross Perot, meanwhile, was remembered as a kind of proto-Trump due to his 1992 populist third-party run at the presidency, something that savaged a bygone GOP that America … you get the idea.
Fitting Cummings’ death into this mold wasn’t terribly difficult given the fact that he was one of the president’s biggest critics on Capitol Hill. However, it needn’t have dominated his obituary; Cummings was a decorated politician who had served in the lower house for well over 20 years. Instead, practically the only thing that got focused on was the fact that he didn’t like Donald Trump.
“If you don’t know the answer to that, you’re in the wrong biz. The story speaks for itself,” Matt Dornic, CNN‘s vice president of communications, told The Daily Caller when they had asked about Trump’s prominence in their Cummings obituary.
It wasn’t just major news organizations, either. When President Trump offered his condolences to Cummings on Twitter, you could have decided that was either a) not the time to let the president know how much you hated him or b) the perfect time to let the president know how much you hated him.
Guess which option seemed to be the most popular?
“My warmest condolences to the family and many friends of Congressman Elijah Cummings,” the president tweeted. “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!”
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
And here were the responses:
You were disgracefully disrespectful to this great man. He was a person whose value you will never understand; a person who did not live for money, but rather to help others- because it was right, and because giving of himself was an intrinsic part of who he was.
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) October 17, 2019
This isn’t how you tweeted about him when he was alive. You are scum. #RIPElijah
— Jeffrey Guterman (@JeffreyGuterman) October 17, 2019
Elijah Cummings was a true patriot, a warrior that fought for the citizens of Baltimore as fiercely as he fought for the rule of law. He was dignified, brave, loyal & supremely wise.
In other words…Rep. Cummings was everything that YOU will never be. #RestInPowerElijah ✌️
— MiddleChildSyndrome (@Melmerizer) October 17, 2019
You called his city “rat-infested” a few weeks ago. But okay.
— Pé Resists (@4everNeverTrump) October 17, 2019
— Andy Ostroy (@AndyOstroy) October 17, 2019
You called him, the champion of civil rights, a RACIST. You viciously attacked him for being the type of man that YOU ARE NOT. You mocked and laughed about his home being broken into. Keep his name out of your mouth. Be quiet and allow people to mourn. Your words hold no weight🖕
— 👻🎃Stacie🎃👻 (@h8Wankmaggot45) October 17, 2019
To be fair, nobody usually posts on Twitter to say, “Hey, you know, I don’t agree with the president but that wasn’t a bad message of condolences.” However, there you have it. This is “tolerance,” apparently.
The fact that Trump and Cummings had a back-and-forth during Cummings’ lifetime is meaningless. Trump has a back-and-forth with almost every politician on the left. That wasn’t the important thing on Thursday. Cummings’ death was.
Trump realized this much and wrote a fairly heartfelt tweet. He didn’t insert himself into any of this. Everyone else did — and decided to take Cummings’ life and accomplishments out of it.
And yet, apparently, he’s the bad guy. Again, no death of a politician can be examined without asking how it relates to Trump. That’s one of the saddest consequences of our current political climate; the media and the left feel the need to relate everything back to how awful they think Donald Trump is.
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