The Latest: Biden says Cummings showed how to not back down

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

10:20 a.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden says Rep. Elijah Cummings “knew the fights that needed a champion, and he never hesitated to jump into the fray.”

The Democratic presidential candidate’s statement recalls that Cummings faced “a hail of bottles and insults as a young man marching to integrate a swimming pool,” and in 2015, how he rushed into the streets of Baltimore, “bullhorn in hand,” to try to calm the crowds after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died in police custody.

Biden says Cummings’ moral authority “showed us how to stand firmly for our rights and for what is right, how to never back down, without turning to personal disparagement and recrimination.”


10:05 a.m.

A veteran House Democrat from New York City will for now take over the House committee that the late Rep. Elijah Cummings has chaired.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney will serve as acting chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee until Democrats choose a permanent chair at an undetermined future date.

That’s according to a senior Democratic leadership aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe Maloney’s ascension.

Maloney has served in Congress since 1993.

Cummings’ committee has had a leading role in the House’s impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump.

The Maryland Democrat was 68 when he died early Thursday of complications from long-running health problems.


10 a.m.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’s devastated by the death of Rep. Elijah Cummings. She calls him a leader of “towering character and integrity, whose stirring voice and steadfast values pushed the Congress and country to rise always to a higher purpose.”

Her statement says Cummings’ chairmanship of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform proved his commitment to “restoring honesty and honor to government.”

Pelosi is a native of Cummings’ district in Baltimore, where she says “we will miss our champion.”


9:10 a.m.

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 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!”


8:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh is expressing sadness about the death of Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Murtaugh called the Maryland Democrat an “American icon for sure,” but Trump and the chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee had a rocky relationship at best. The committee’s investigations of Trump raised the ire of the president who recently called Cummings’ district in Baltimore a “rodent-infested mess.”

Murtaugh tweeted that “at times like this you put “differences aside.” Speaking for the Trump campaign, Murtaugh expressed condolences to Cummings’ family and friends.


8 a.m.

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.”


6:30 a.m.

The death of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings early Thursday has made a widow of Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the chair of Maryland’s Democratic Party.

She released a statement, calling her husband “an honorable man who proudly served his district and the nation with dignity, integrity, compassion and humility.”

She says Cummings “worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity and that our nation’s diversity was our promise, not our problem.”

She says “It has been an honor to walk by his side on this incredible journey. I loved him deeply and will miss him dearly.”


5:30 a.m.

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.

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