Politics

Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and the Clintons pay tribute at Elijah Cummings' funeral

Key Points
  • Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and scores of others from both sides of the political aisle pay tribute to the late Rep. Elijah Cummings at his packed funeral Friday in Baltimore.
  • Cummings, who represented Maryland's 7th Congressional District since 1996, died on Oct. 17 at age 68 due to longstanding health challenges, according to his office.
  • On Thursday, Cummings became the first black lawmaker to lie in state at the Capitol Building.
House Oversight and Reform chairman Elijah Cummings, speaks during a press conference following a House vote to authorize lawsuits to enforce subpoenas on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.
Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and scores of others from both sides of the political aisle paid tribute to the late Rep. Elijah Cummings at his packed funeral Friday in Baltimore.

Cummings, a Democrat who represented Maryland's 7th Congressional District since 1996, died on Oct. 17 at age 68 due to longstanding health challenges, according to his office. On Thursday, Cummings became the first black lawmaker to lie in state at the Capitol Building.

"This is the day for the home-going celebration of a great man, a moral leader, and a friend," former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in opening remarks at New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore.

Cummings was seen as an advocate for cutting prescription drug prices, fighting addiction, strengthening gun control and reforming the criminal justice system.

"It now falls on us to continue his work so that other young boys and girls across Baltimore, across Maryland, across the United States and around the world, might too have a chance to grow and to flourish," Obama said in his eulogy. "That's how we'll remember him. It's what he would hope for."

Pelosi, who appointed Cummings to be chairman of the House Oversight Committee after the 2018 midterms, called him the "Master of the House" and the "North Star of the Congress" for his moral clarity.

Cummings' death led to an outpouring of condolences from Democrats and Republicans alike. North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, who was a close friend of Cummings, said on Twitter that he knew "no stronger advocate and no better friend" than Cummings.

Bill Clinton also praised Cummings on a personal level.

"I loved this man. I loved every minute I ever spent with him, every conversation we ever had," the former president said.

"We should hear him now in the quiet times at night and in the morning when we need courage," he added. "When we don't know if we can believe anymore we should hear him."

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Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings dies at age 68