Rep. Elijah Cummings Dies at 68

Clay Curtis
October 17, 2019

Cummings' office says he died due to complications from longstanding health challenges.

Murtaugh called the Maryland Democrat an "American icon for sure, " but Trump and the chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee had a rocky relationship at best. During Trump's presidency, he emerged as one of the president's most-outspoken critics in Congress, launching numerous investigations from his position as chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

Cummings received perhaps his greatest national attention as one of President Donald Trump's sharpest political combatants, particularly after the President described Cummings" hometown of Baltimore as a "rat and rodent-infested mess'.

Cummings replied that government officials must stop making "hateful, incendiary comments" that only serve to divide and distract the nation from its real problems, including mass shootings and white supremacy. "That's all I want", Cummings said, quoting from the Bible.

His oversight often drew the ire of Trump and over the summer the president targeted Cummings in a string of statements condemned as racist. In 1982, he won the state delegate position, where he served for 14 years.

Democrats and Republicans from SC memorialized Cummings, with House Majority Whip James Clyburn and Rep. Ralph Norman among the first to comment.

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Cummings, who had been absent from Capitol Hill in recent weeks while under medical attention, had health issues in recent years.

Jordan saluted Cummings on Thursday as a "man of great effect and significance" on the oversight panel for more than two decades. In 2017, he underwent an aortic valve replacement. He was one of three committee leaders guiding the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry.

Whoever takes over for Cummings will have a game rhetorical adversary in ranking member Jim Jordan of OH, founder of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus and one of Trump's staunchest defenders in Washington. The Baltimore house of Elijah Cummings was robbed. In grade school, a counselor told Cummings he was too slow to learn and spoke poorly, and he would never fulfill his dream of becoming a lawyer. I became very determined'.

He had severed as a Congressman for Maryland for 23 years.

"I am profoundly saddened by the passing of Congressman Elijah Cummings, an extraordinary and dear friend and an unflinching champion for the people of Baltimore, our state, and our nation", Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels said in a statement this morning.

Cummings grew up in the Civil Rights Era and recently discussed how, even at a young age, he was part of that movement to integrate parts of his neighborhood. When he was 11 he was partly responsible for integrating a Baltimore swimming he was being hit by rocks and bottles. From 2003 to 2004, he chaired the Congressional Black Caucus.

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