Shortly after President Donald Trump launched an unhinged tweetstorm against Rep. Elijah Cummings, the lawmaker fired back. But the chairman of the House Oversight Committee notably avoided any type of name-calling or personal attack against the commander in chief. Instead, he took the opportunity to call on Trump to support him on an issue.
“Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors,” Cummings tweeted. “It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”
The lawmaker from Maryland went on to remind Trump he had promised to help him on his quest to deal with rising prescription drug prices. “Mr. President, we can address this together,” Cummings wrote. “Two years ago, I went to the White House to ask you to endorse my bill to let the government negotiate directly for lower drug prices.” He continued to address the president directly: “You told me then that you supported the legislation and that you would work with me to make it happen. I took you at your word.” That was quite a measured response to being called a “brutal bully” who presides over a district that is a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
Cummings was not alone in firing back at the president as several Democrats came to the lawmaker’s defense Saturday, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who characterized Trump’s attack as racist. “@RepCummings is a champion in the Congress and the country for civil rights and economic justice, a beloved leader in Baltimore, and deeply valued colleague,” Pelosi tweeted. “We all reject racist attacks against him and support his steadfast leadership.”
Rep. Katherine Clark, the vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, said that Trump’s tweets were “not the words of a patriot.”
Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young also blasted Trump while defending Cummings. “It’s completely unacceptable for the political leader of our country to denigrate a vibrant American City like Baltimore, and to viciously attack U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings a patriot and a hero,” he wrote.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, who is also from Maryland, said that Trump had hit a “new low with his slashing attack” against Cummings and Baltimore. “Cummings is devoted to the common good, Trump to self-enrichment and glorification,” Raskin wrote. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, decided to not even mention Trump and chose instead to simply praise Cummings as a “legendary coach” who “makes the country better.”