Trump calls Cummings ‘highly respected political leader’ after congressman’s death

Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at The Baltimore Sun.

President Donald Trump took to Twitter Thursday to send his “warmest condolences” to the family and friends of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who died in the early morning amid some longstanding health problems.

“I got to see first hand the strength, passion and wisdom of this highly respected political leader,” Trump said in the tweet. “His work and voice on so many fronts will be very hard, if not impossible, to replace!”


The Republican president and the Democratic congressman frequently clashed over the years on policies, subpoenas and social media posts.

Cummings became a national figure in 2019 as chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is among three panels leading the impeachment inquiry of Trump.


With Democrats earning the House majority following the 2018 election, Cummings had the ability as chairman to demand documents related to Trump’s personal finances and policies, as well as possible abuses at federal agencies in the Trump administration.

Maryland Policy & Politics


Keep up to date with Maryland politics, elections and important decisions made by federal, state and local government officials.

Cummings and Trump also frequently bristled at each other’s comments and took each other to task publicly several times over the summer.

Cummings particularly resented Trump’s July tweet that four Democratic congresswomen of color should "go back” to other countries. He said it recalled the summer of 1962, when white mobs taunted and threw rocks and bottles at Cummings and other African American kids seeking to integrate the Riverside Park pool in South Baltimore.

Later that month, Trump aimed harsh words at Cummings on Twitter after the congressman criticized the president for what he described as conditions at the border detention centers in which children were left to defecate on themselves and did not have access to a shower.

In the tweets, Trump called Cummings a “brutal bully” and referred to his 7th Congressional District as “disgusting, rat and rodent infested."

Cummings said he had just a single one-on-one conversation with the president. It was in 2017 when both were working on plans to lower drug prices.

Cummings said he then told Trump that “we don’t need to be doing mean things. We don’t need to be just representing 30-something percent of the people that like us. You need to represent all the people.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Barker contributed to this article.