Rep. Elijah Cummings Dies at 68
"When we're dancing with the angels, the question will be asked, in 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact?" Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings has died at 68. Here, he speaks passionately about defending democracy.
What did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact?
When Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, testified in February 2018 before the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the panel’s chair, closed the hearing with a seemingly extemporaneous eight-minute speech. Expanding on his own earlier statement that “we’re better than this,” in reference to the president’s impact on the country, Cummings remarks were strikingly empathetic to Cohen, openly emotional, and morally urgent. Cummings died in his hometown of Baltimore, at 68, from what a spokesperson described Thursday only as “longstanding health challenges.”
Cummings’ remarks at the Cohen hearing highlight what Congress lost with his death. Elevated by Pelosi to the top spot on Oversight over a more senior colleague in 2010, he offered a sort of innate seriousness and an aptitude for articulating deeper themes behind legislation and oversight. And he wielded unique moral authority. That the Democrats cannot replace. Near the close of his remarks at the Cohen hearing, Cummings issued a call to action that speaks to his legacy in public service: “When we’re dancing with the angels, the question will be asked, in 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact? Did we stand on the sidelines and say nothing? Did we play games?”
Cummings gave Donald Trump so much grief that in typical toddler form, Trump acted out. One could see the contrast between the two as the tributes in defense of Congressman Cummings far outweighed the defense of President Trump. He believed in fairness and he defended his friends, regardless of which side of the aisle they came from because Elijah Cummings lived the honor of public service –