U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings succumbs to health challenges

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Congressman Elijah Cummings walks to his car (Kim Hairston /The Baltimore Sun via AP)

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Latest on the death of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings

Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings died early Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital due to complications from longstanding health challenges, his congressional office said. He was 68.

A sharecropper’s son, Cummings became the powerful chairman of a U.S. House committee that investigated President Donald Trump and was a formidable orator who passionately advocated for the poor in his district that encompassed a large portion of Baltimore.

As chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cummings led multiple investigations into Trump’s governmental dealings. The investigations angered the president, who criticized the congressman’s district in 2019 as a “rodent-infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”

Cummings responded that government officials must stop making “hateful, incendiary comments” that only serve to divide and distract the nation from its real problems.

Politicians are sharing their thoughts on the death of Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Maryland Democrat whose House committee is investigating President Donald Trump.

House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn said Cummings’ “calm but firm hand will be missed on the Oversight Committee as it proceeds with the difficult work ahead.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Cummings a “dedicated public servant.” And Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, said Cummings “stood as a symbol for the heights one could reach if they paid no mind to obstacles, naysayers and hate.”

Maryland Senate President Mike Miller called Cummings an icon and one of the people he most admired in Maryland politics.

And Baltimore Mayor Jack Young says Cummings was a gifted social justice crusader. The mayor said Cummings wasn’t afraid to speak out “against brutal dictators bent on oppression, unscrupulous business executives who took advantage of unsuspecting customers, or even a U.S. President. He was, put simply, a man of God who never forgot his duty to fight for the rights and dignity of the marginalized and often forgotten.”

President Donald Trump left aside his differences with Rep. Elijah Cummings in a brief tweet responding to the powerful Democrat’s death on Thursday.

Trump’s tweet said “My warmest condolences to the family and many friends of Congressman Elijah Cummings. I got to see firsthand 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!”

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