U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat known for his devotion to civil rights and for his passionate speeches, died Thursday from complications of longstanding health problems. Here’s what notable figures are saying to commemorate him.
President Donald Trump: 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!
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan: We are deeply saddened by the passing of Congressman Elijah Cummings, who was a fierce advocate for civil rights and for Maryland for more than three decades. Congressman Cummings leaves behind an incredible legacy of fighting for Baltimore City and working to improve people’s lives. He was a passionate and dedicated public servant whose countless contributions made our state and our country better.
Maryland Democratic Party Chair Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and wife of the congressman: He worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity and that our nation’s diversity was our promise, not our problem. It’s been an honor to walk by his side on this incredible journey. I loved him deeply and will miss him dearly.
Former President Barack Obama: Steely yet compassionate, principled yet open to new perspectives, Chairman Cummings remained steadfast in his pursuit of truth, justice and reconciliation. It’s a tribute to his native Baltimore that one of its own brought such character, tact and resolve into the halls of power every day.
Republican Party Chairman Dirk Haire: Congressman Elijah Cummings was tenacious in his advocacy for the people he represented. He will be remembered for his many years of dedication as a public servant by his friends, family and the people of Baltimore. Today we put politics aside and remain focused on the memory of a man who was a leader in our government, but also a man with a family and strong ideals.
Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young: Rep. Cummings, the son of sharecroppers whose ancestors were slaves, wasn’t afraid to use his considerable intellect, booming voice, and poetic oratory to speak out against brutal dictators bent on oppression, unscrupulous business executives who took advantage of unsuspecting customers, or even a U.S. President. He was, put simply, a man of God who never forgot his duty to fight for the rights and dignity of the marginalized and often forgotten.
Former Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski: He was a towering figure in the Congress who could investigate, legislate and agitate, and this is why we all loved him. He could lift people up and inspire them, and during Freddie Gray, he was a voice of calm. Elijah loved young people and they had a soft spot for him. He’d say, ‘Don’t worry about the next election, worry about the next generation.’
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley: He kept coming back to this truth. He believed that children were the messengers to a future we’ll never see, and it is our responsibility to give our kids a better life, and leave the world a better place when we leave.
Baltimore City Council President Brandon M. Scott: Today Baltimore has lost its Congressman and our country has lost a true American hero .... I will miss hearing “Brandon, I need to see you.” He imparted invaluable lessons during our meetings. He was never satisfied with good enough and constantly sought solutions to our City’s most persistent problems.
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby: Baltimore has never had a greater champion and our family joins the entire country in mourning the passing of this giant of a man and a leader. After we pause to reflect on his immense legacy, the greatest tribute we can make is to commit ourselves to the work and the people he cared so deeply about.
Former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake: The congressman knew he was seriously ill and in the midst of his struggle with his health, he still fought for all of us. I think that speaks to his character. He was a selfless servant until the end.
Adrienne A. Jones, Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates: Elijah always fought for the little guy, working across the aisle on health care issues, prescription drugs and the importance of education as a way to open doors for every child, regardless of income ... We all say none of us are irreplaceable in elected office. But there will never be another Elijah Cummings.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr.: Congressman Elijah Cummings was a role model, friend, icon, and one of the people I most admired in Maryland politics. I cherished every conversation we had, joke we shared, and insight he could provide. He was a giant of a man with a gentle soul, and every Marylander benefited from his years of public service.
Former Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke: I feel as though I lost a member of my family. We were that close. He cared about people and making life better for others.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison: In my short time here in Baltimore, I grew to know him well and deeply value his support, encouragement and advice. He was a trailblazer for the civil rights movement, an icon in this community and a great supporter of the Baltimore Police Department.
Leana Wen, former former president of Planned Parenthood and Baltimore City Health Commissioner: Mourning Rep. Elijah Cummings, my hero. I named my son after him because I want Eli to grow up to be a tireless fighter with a big heart and love and compassion for all. In @RepCummings’s honor, may we lives loves of purpose. Strive not only for common ground, but higher ground.
Maryland U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen: At a time of chaos and division, our friend Elijah Cummings stood strong as a man of principle, unity, dignity, and compassion. His insatiable thirst for justice was rooted in his core.
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot: There are so many ways to describe this remarkable man who grew up in the most modest of circumstances, rose to once-unimaginable heights of political power, and never, ever stopped fighting to give others the very same opportunities he had. In the days to come, we will assemble our thoughts and do the best we can to do justice to the life and golden legacy of Elijah Cummings.
Michael Steele, former RNC chairman and Maryland lieutenant governor: My heart is saddened at the loss of a colleague and friend. Elijah cared deeply about public service and the importance of “representing your people”. Rest In Peace good and faithful servant.
This article will be updated.