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Powerful Interview With Rep. Elijah Cummings About His Dad's Reaction To Seeing Him Sworn In Goes Viral In Wake Of His Death

60 Minutes

A civil rights activist who rose to become the United States House Rep. for Maryland's 7th congressional district, Elijah Cummings, died on Thursday, October 17, 2019.

He was 68.

Cummings served as a Congressman from 1996 until his death from "longstanding health problems," according to a statement from his spokeswoman.

As chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cummings also led investigations into Trump's government dealings, including probes into members of the Trump family serving in the White House in 2019.


In honor of his memory, a retrospective video of him talking about his father wiping away tears while watching his son being sworn in has gone viral.

During an interview with 60 Minutes, he said he never saw his father cry before and recalled their conversation following the ceremony:

"'Dad, I noticed you were crying.' And I almost wanted him to lie to me."

After sharing a laugh and admitting he wanted to see his emotional father break a sweat from being confronted, Cummings quoted his father:

"'I kept looking at your hand and I realized that the same blood that runs in your hand runs in mine.'"

You can watch the poignant 60 Minutes segment below:

In the interview, Cummings noted that his late father had never been in the Capitol building before.

And as he observed his surroundings inside the building on his first visit, his father asked:

"Isn't the place where they used to call us slaves?...Isn't this the place where they called us three-fifths of a man?...When I think about you being sworn in, now I see what I could have been if I had an opportunity."

His father's posthumous comments resonated with many online.



People paid their respects to the inspirational Congressman.





A quote from one of his speeches surfaced as a reminder for all members of Congress to abide by.

Cummings's committee was tasked with the House impeachment probe of President Donald Trump when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), announced the formal process following the revelation of Trump's phone call with the Ukrainian president over the summer.

Trump once criticized Cummings and called his majority-black district, which encompasses parts of Baltimore, a "rodent-infested mess" where "no human being would want to live."

This comment followed Trump's suggestion that the women of color in Congress, known as "the squad," should "go back" to the countries they came from.

When Democrats accused him of race-baiting, Trump fired back:

"If racist Elijah Cummings would focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district, and Baltimore itself, perhaps progress could be made in fixing the mess that he has helped to create over many years of incompetent leadership."

In response, Cummings said:

"Those in the highest levels of the government must stop invoking fear, using racist language and encouraging reprehensible behavior."

But any reference to their dispute all but faded as Trump ordered flags to be flown at half-mast on Thursday.

In a tweet, Trump gave his condolences to the Congressman.

"I got to see firsthand the strength, passion and wisdom of this highly respected political leader."

Democratic Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis stated that the country lost "a great leader at a time of crisis in our democracy."

"When this nation needed him most, he became a moral voice 'crying in the wilderness,' and his words and actions called a reluctant nation to conscience."

Former President Barack Obama said he and his family were "heartbroken" over the loss of their friend.

In a statement, Obama described Cummings as "steely yet compassionate, principled yet open to new perspectives."

"As Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, he showed us all not only the importance of checks and balances within our democracy but also the necessity of good people stewarding it."

A wake and a funeral for Cummings will take place Friday, October 25, at 8 a.m. at the New Psalmist Baptist Church, where he worshiped for 40 years.

With a forward by Elijah Cummings, White House correspondent April Ryan's book The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Four Presidents and Race in America is available here.

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