Rep. Elijah Cummings Has Died At Age 68
Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, a lawmaker who has served in Congress for decades and, in recent months, played an instrumental role in the investigations of the Trump administration (including House impeachment proceedings) as chair of the House Oversight Committee, died this week due to longtime health complications, his office said in a statement on Thursday morning.
Cummings had missed a couple of votes in September due to his health. The Baltimore Sun reported that he had not returned to work this week as scheduled after he underwent a medical procedure. The Congressional recess ended on October 15.
His return had been expected, according to a statement his office put out on September 30, when they said he would return to work “when the House comes back into session in two weeks.”
Cummings died at Johns Hopkins Hospital “due to complications from longstanding health challenges,” the Associated Press reported. He was 68 years old.
Born and raised in the midst of the Civil Rights movement, Cummings became a fierce advocate for equality, fighting for rights of people of color, advocating on behalf of the LGBTQ community in recent years, and chiding the White House for its treatment of immigrant families crossing the U.S.-southern border.
Congressman Elijah E. Cummings died early Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital due to complications from longstanding health challenges. Cummings became the powerful chairman of a U.S. House committee that investigated President Donald Trump. https://t.co/zNe9kVmGxx
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 17, 2019
It was his comments on that last subject that earned him the ire of the sitting president. Cummings recently was involved in a spat with President Donald Trump, who called the area of Baltimore that Cummings represented a “rodent-infested mess” in a diatribe that was seen as a direct attack on the lawmaker and a racist attack on the city by many observers’ accounts.
Cummings responded to the president’s comments by suggesting he come to Baltimore to “see all the wonderful things that are happening,” NPR reported earlier this year.
He also criticized Trump for the rhetoric he used against the city. “Those in the highest levels of the government must stop invoking fear, using racist language and encouraging reprehensible behavior,” Cummings said.
The lawmaker ran for Congress in 1996 and has served his district since that time. Prior to that, Cummings had served for many years within the Maryland House of Delegates.