Elijah Cummings


Baltimore congressman Elijah Cummings was more gracious, generous, and better than most. There’s no better example of that than his friendship with Republican and staunch Trump defender Mark Meadows, who sat on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which Cummings chaired.

Earlier this year after Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib implied Meadows committed a racist act, Cummings came to Meadows’ defense and stated that not only was the Republican not racist, but is one of his best friends. Cummings did this even though what Meadows did was overtly racist. During a hearing, Mark Meadows brought out a black woman who has worked for Donald Trump as proof Trump isn’t racist.

In case you’re a Republican, the “black friend” defense doesn’t prove you’re not a racist and the use of it is, in itself, blatantly racist. Your friends are your friends and not tokens to be spent on political debates. You’re welcome.

An example of how Cummings was bigger and better than most of us was when racist Donald Trump went on his Twitter rant about rats in Baltimore, attacking Cummings and eventually calling him a racist, which would be like calling Mother Theresa an anarchistic puppy beater. Despite this being just a few months after Cummings defended Meadows from the same charge, Mark Meadows chose to be a coward and refused to defend Cummings. He refused to stand up, defend his friend, and publicly disagree with Donald Trump.

Donald Trump reacted to Cummings’ death by tweeting, “My warmest condolences to the family and many friends of Congressman Elijah Cummings. I got to see first hand the strength, passion and wisdom of this highly respected political leader. His work and voice on so many fronts will be very hard, if not impossible, to replace!” Wow. That’s very nice. It almost makes you forget what he’d said about Cummings when he was alive.

Just a few months ago while saying Baltimore was “a disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess” where “no human being” would want to live, he called Cummings “racist,” a “brutal bully,” who has “failed badly” representing his constituents and who stole and mismanaged federal funds. Later, after a burglary at Cummings’ home, Trump tweeted, “really bad news,” and “too bad.” In case you’re a liberal, cruelty is the basis of all Republican humor.

Of course, Cummings was a bigger and better human being than Donald Trump, but most people are, so that’s a poor example. But Trump is right about one thing. It’s going to be hard to replace Elijah Cummings.

Not only will it be difficult for his district or even his party to replace a man like Cummings, the biggest challenge, especially during an impeachment, is replacing him as chairman of the Oversight committee.

For now, Pelosi has appointed Representative Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, now the senior Democrat on the panel. She’ll serve as the acting chairwoman, in line with House rules. She has not been a major player in these investigations and nobody expects her to become the permanent chairwoman.

The White House acting-Chief-of-Staff Mick Mulvaney blurted out last week how they’ve had to deal with oversight since the Democrats took Congress last year, totally missing the point that oversight is something every president should constantly deal with, no matter if their party controls Congress or not. They will still have to deal with oversight without Cummings in the chair, but on that particular committee, there will no longer be an advocate with Cummings’ voice, grace, class, and demeanor.

As House Minority Kevin McCarthy said, “Every time we spoke of selecting an individual that can rise to the occasion, to be in debate with him, we’d look for somebody that’s strong. And every time someone was selected, they’d come back to be a very best friend of Elijah Cummings.”

Cummings was better than most. After the Meadows racial incident, he said, “We need to get away from party and deal with each other as human beings.” The only problem with Trump supporters is that they refuse to be human.

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