Rep. Elijah Cummings, Who Railed to Set Trump Straight on Anti-Black Rhetoric, Dies at 68

Cummings
Rep. Elijah Cummings. AP / Pablo Martinez Monsivais
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We are revisiting this March 2017 article in salute to longtime Baltimore congressman Cummings, who passed away today, October 17, 2019, at age 68.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) says he used his meeting with President Trump as an opportunity to tell him that his rhetoric on Black communities has been “hurtful,” despite his negative portrayals of them in several addresses and speeches.

“When you’re talking about the African-American community, I want you to realize that all African-American communities are not places of depression, where people are being harmed,” Cummings told reporters after the Wednesday meeting. He refuted statements made by Trump about inner cities being places of “carnage” and even in the case of Chicago, threatening to “send in the feds” in response to violent crime there.

Cummings also confronted Trump on the issue of voter fraud. Last month, the president made a claim that “millions of people” fraudulently voted in the 2016 presidential election. But Cummings told him that voter fraud is “all but nonexistent,” according to ABC News, and that any investigation of the issue should actually focus on voter suppression.

“Now where he goes from there I don’t know,” said Cummings. “But I could not come out of this meeting without raising those issues.”

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The Maryland Democrat met with Trump on prescription drug prices and said at a press conference that the president supports a measure proposed along with Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont for having Medicare negotiate better on the drugs.

The meeting between Cummings and Trump was mentioned last month in a tense exchange between the president and reporters in which he asked veteran White House correspondent April Ryan if she would set up a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus, of which Cummings is a senior member. Trump accused Cummings of avoiding a meeting with him because of how it might appear politically.

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