Trump Offers His ‘Warmest Condolences’ on Cummings After Insults


(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump offered condolences to the family of Elijah Cummings on Thursday, setting aside his usual antagonism, perhaps briefly, for the man who had become one of his staunchest critics on Capitol Hill.

While presidents have typically offered condolences at the death of political opponents, the practice hasn’t been a given with Trump. He delayed doing so when Republican Senator John McCain died in 2018, and the White House resisted lowering flags to half-mast.

Trump’s warmth toward Cummings may prove short-lived. The president has repeatedly brought up McCain since, deriding the deceased senator for voting against Trump’s effort to repeal Obamacare.

Cummings, 68, passed away Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital due to complications from long-standing health challenges, according to a statement from his office. As chairman of the House Oversight Committee, he had become a fierce critic of Trump and a key figure in what has become an impeachment inquiry.

Cummings’s committee was looking into a wide range of matters, including the administration’s failed effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census, as well as the use by Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and others of private texts and emails for official business.

Trump’s condolences stood in contrast to his derision of Cummings on Twitter. In July, he repeatedly attacked Cummings and his district.

In August, Cummings called in a speech at the National Press Club for “those in the highest level” of government to stop using “racist language” that divides Americans, referring to Trump’s rhetorical attacks on his hometown of Baltimore without naming the president.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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