Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who passed away on Thursday at the age of 68, will be fondly remembered as one of the collegial leaders on Capitol Hill, who forged personal friendships across party lines.
His legacy on the House Oversight Committee, however, is one of stark partisanship. In opposition, he defended abuses by President Barack Obama’s administration; when in the majority, he tried to damage President Donald Trump by any means necessary.
Cummings is remembered for his most recent fight with Trump, when the president called the congressman’s district in Baltimore “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
Trump was reacting to Cummings’s own outbursts at then-Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan over the alleged mistreatment of migrant children in U.S. Border Patrol facilities at the southern border. Many Republicans felt Cummings went too far in his criticism.
Democrats called Trump’s tweet “racist,” pointing to the word “infested.” As Trump later noted, Cummings himself had used the term “drug-infested” to describe his own city in 1999, which remains one of America’s most troubled urban areas.
To conservatives, Cummings became a symbol of an entrenched Democratic political elite, who use racially gerrymandered districts to protect their gatekeeping roles and fail to improve the lives of their constituents. – READ MORE