Timeline: The history of clashes between Trump and Cummings that led up to the president’s Twitter attacks

Before President Donald Trump’s tweetstorm this weekend lambasting Rep. Elijah Cummings as “racist” and “incompetent” and his district as a “rodent infested mess," the only tweet that appeared on the president’s Twitter feed mentioning Cummings referenced a “Great discussion” the two shared in the White House back in March 2017.

But the two men have long been at odds, especially since Democrats took over the House of Representatives, vaulting Cummings to the leadership role in the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.


Since then, Cummings has been at the forefront of numerous investigations into the Trump administration. Here’s a list of some of the most notable clashes between Cummings and the commander in chief, as well as his closest advisers.

August 26, 2017

Cummings took to Twitter to speak out against Trump’s “abhorrent” comments on white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, during which a counterprotester, Heather Heyer, was killed. Trump stated that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the demonstration. Cummings also criticized Trump’s pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who made headlines for his harsh pursuit of undocumented immigrants.


January 23, 2019

Cummings announced that the Oversight Committee would open an investigation into the Trump administration’s handling of security clearances for some of its officials, including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Senior Adviser Jared Kusher and White House aide Rob Porter.

April 22, 2019

Trump filed suit against Cummings in response to the Oversight Committee’s subpoena seeking the president’s financial records, dubbing the committee’s effort legislative overreach.

March 19, 2019

In a scathing editorial in The Washington Post, Cummings stated the White House hadn’t handed over “a single piece of paper” requested by his committee in a dozen letters. He called it a “unprecedented level of stonewalling, delay and obstruction.”

June 12, 2019

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Cummings capped off his fight against the proposed citizenship question on the nation’s census by leading House Oversight Democrats to vote to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress after officials withheld documents on the subject sought by Cummings’ committee.

June 26, 2019

The Oversight Committee, led by Cummings, voted to subpoena Senior Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway to testify on account of their concerns that she violated the Hatch Act, a federal law restricting political activity on the part of government employees.

“No one in this country is above the law, not even Kellyanne Conway,” Cummings said, according to the Associated Press.

July 18, 2019

During an intense exchange with acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, Cummings mused about whether the department has an “empathy deficit” as a result of its zero tolerance policy for border crossings and conditions at its migrant holding facilities.

When McAleenan stated during the congressional hearing that Homeland Security is “doing our level best,” Cummings jumped in: “What does that mean? What does that mean when a child is sitting in their own feces, can’t take a shower?” he said. “Come on, man. What’s that about? None of us would have our children in that position. They are human beings.”


July 25, 2019

Most recently, the president’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, came under fire from Cummings’ committee, as the panel voted to subpoena all work-related emails and text messages sent by White House officials using personal accounts. The couple have both admitted, through their attorneys, to using such accounts for government work, which might violate federal law. The documents were first requested by the committee when it was under Republican leadership.

July 27, 2019

President Trump fired off the first of several scathing tweets aimed at Cummings and Maryland’s 7th Congressional District. The tweets continued through the weekend and into Monday, when the president dragged the Rev. Al Sharpton’s name into the mix ahead of a preplanned conference where Sharpton was scheduled to appear in Baltimore.