“Steely Yet Compassionate”: Barack Obama Eulogizes Elijah Cummings

The former president released a statement in honor of the late chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

Rep. Elijah Cummings welcomes Barack Obama onstage at a presidential campaign event in 2007.Marvin Joseph/Getty

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Former President Barack Obama expressed his grief over the death of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) Thursday, calling the late House Oversight Committee chairman “steely yet compassionate, principled yet open to new perspectives.”

“He showed us all not only the importance of checks and balances within our democracy, but also the necessity of good people stewarding it,” Obama wrote in a statement. “True to the giants of progress he followed into public service, Chairman Cummings stood tallest and most resolute when our country needed him the most.”

Cummings, one of Obama’s earliest supporters for president, co-chaired his campaign in Maryland in 2008.

Read the statement below:

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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