Early Thursday morning, Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings died at age 68 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland after a series of health issues in recent years. A force within Congress and politics at large, he represented his Baltimore community in the House of Representatives for over 20 years. Before that, Representative Cummings served in the Maryland House of Delegates for 13 years, building a powerful political legacy as a defender of civil and voting rights.
As news broke Thursday morning, Representative Cummings' passing proved that, on rare occasions, both sides of the aisle can come together. Colleagues inside of Congress and out issued statements of remembrance and condolences to the congressman's family. Cummings had struggled with his health for some time: he underwent aortic valve surgery that led to a subsequent infection in 2017, and ongoing health issues prevented him from participating in a role call since September of this year.
In his final years, Representative Cummings was a fierce opponent to Trump and the GOP, challenging Congress to perform its oversight role and check the president's power. Known for his speaking ability, particularly on the House floor, Cummings helped highlight the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2016 at the Democratic National Convention. After Democrats retook the House in 2018, he chaired the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that often pressed the the White House for some measure of transparency and accountability. Even still, there's been an outpouring of support from both his Democratic and Republican colleagues, proof of the respect he's earned over his decades of service.
We lost a giant today. Congressman Elijah Cummings was a fearless leader, a protector of democracy, and a fighter for the people of Maryland. Our world is dimmer without him in it.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) October 17, 2019
We lost one of our best. A son of sharecroppers, who went on to represent one of our greatest cities; a fighter for justice, who always led with love—Rep. Elijah Cummings was everything right about America. He is already missed, but his legacy will be with us forever.— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) October 17, 2019
Thank you, @RepCummings.— Be A King (@BerniceKing) October 17, 2019
What a life of passionate service and courage.
My heartfelt condolences to your wife, your family, the City of Baltimore, the United States and the world.
Your life blessed a multitude.#ElijahCummings pic.twitter.com/t3A6ieF7ky
In Congress and his community, #ElijahCummings was a thunderous force for equality, accountability, and moral clarity. And because he knew the importance of working with people from all backgrounds and parties, he got things done. America has lost a leader. RIP, Chairman.— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) October 17, 2019
Deeply saddened by the passing of our colleague Elijah Cummings. He was a giant, revered by all. He taught me much when I served on Oversight my freshman year. My prayers are with Maya & Elijah's family.— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) October 17, 2019
And to the extent Heaven needs any oversight, I know Elijah will be there. pic.twitter.com/mnaXXCTvqX
The son of sharecroppers, Elijah Cummings used his powerful voice to lift up those who often felt powerless. He will be missed and remembered as a tireless advocate for the poor and all who demand an honest, ethical, and fair government.— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) October 17, 2019
There was no stronger advocate and no better friend than Elijah Cummings. I am heartbroken for his wonderful family and staff—please pray for them.— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) October 17, 2019
I will miss him dearly.
Today our country lost a true leader. Congressman Elijah Cummings was a friend, a passionate fighter for justice, and a powerful voice of moral conscience in our government who served his country for decades with dignity and integrity. I’m blessed to have known him. #RIPElijah— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) October 17, 2019
Elijah Cummings was a friend, a mentor, and a leader with steadfast moral clarity. I am heartbroken.@RepCummings served this nation until his very last day — I’ve been honored to learn from him as his Vice Chair. My thoughts are with his family.— Rep. Katie Hill (@RepKatieHill) October 17, 2019
Our country has lost a great.
We’ve lost a leader like no other. Elijah Cummings was a lion when standing up for his beloved Baltimore & rights & truth. But he was also so kind, including to brand new senators like me a decade ago. His advice was as true as his love for his country. 💔 https://t.co/T5pLt24Jjv— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) October 17, 2019
Today we lost Rep. Elijah Cummings, an icon and a fearless leader who always fought for what he believed to be right and just. Thank you for being a life-long dedicated public servant, dear friend. #RestInPower— Rep. Norma Torres (@NormaJTorres) October 17, 2019
Deeply saddened to learn another great has passed. Elijah Cummings & John were great friends & colleagues who never stopped fighting for the American people, truth & honesty, & what is right. Our country is better because of Cummings work, & it’s up to us all to take up the work.— Rep. Debbie Dingell (@RepDebDingell) October 17, 2019
April and I are heartbroken about the loss of our good friend Elijah Cummings. We loved everything about him - he was a man of character, intelligence, kindness and grace. Our nation has lost one of our truly great leaders. We pray for him, for the wonderful Maya and his family.— John Delaney (@JohnDelaney) October 17, 2019
Rest in peace Elijah Cummings, a dedicated public servant and a good man. I pray for his family, loved ones and staff during this difficult time.— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) October 17, 2019
A devastating loss for our country.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 17, 2019
Chairman Cummings was a giant: a universally respected leader who brought profound insight, commitment, and moral fortitude to Congress.
His guidance and vision was an enormous gift. I will forever cherish his example. May he rest in power. https://t.co/D0RsKsM5fh
Our Chairman leaves behind a beautiful and powerful legacy. I am already feeling the impact of a little less grace in the world. Deep gratitude to have spent these early months in Congress guided by his wisdom. Rest in power @RepCummings pic.twitter.com/n4ekGvhAVx— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) October 17, 2019
Elijah Cummings was the heart and soul of our caucus, a dignified leader with a voice that could move mountains.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) October 17, 2019
He was our moral and ethical North Star. Now we will be guided by his powerful memory and incomparable legacy.
Rest In Peace, my friend.
Elijah Cummings was the rarest of politicians- he was a man of substance and of grace; fierce in his determination to protect those without a voice and implacable in his search for the truth. Our nation has lost a truly great public servant. https://t.co/nyTHTYKZpj— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) October 17, 2019
Today we have lost a giant. @RepCummings was a public servant to his core.— James E. Clyburn (@WhipClyburn) October 17, 2019
He served his constituents in Maryland with dignity & grace, while defending our democracy with a sense of duty & steady strength.
My thoughts & prayers are with the Cummings family today and always.
Elijah Cummings dedicated his life to fighting for those in need of a champion, demanding and protecting every American’s precious right to vote, and relentlessly pursuing our nation’s highest ideals.— Senator Chris Coons (@ChrisCoons) October 17, 2019
We are struck this morning to hear the news about the passing of Congressman Elijah Cummings. His death is a tragedy not just for the city of Baltimore, but for our entire nation, and for all of those who fight for justice.https://t.co/2syNdZD3if— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) October 17, 2019
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