President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences over the death of Congressman Elijah Cummings on Thursday, and it’s causing some intense backlash online. The tweet comes just a few months after Trump made disparaging, racially-charged remarks about Cummings and his home city of Baltimore. The president previously called Cummings a “brutal bully” and Baltimore a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and a “very dangerous and filthy place.”
On Aug. 2, someone attempted to burglarize Cummings’ Baltimore home, but was scared away by an alarm system. Trump sarcastically tweeted in response, “Really bad news! The Baltimore house of Elijah Cummings was robbed. Too bad!"
On Thursday, Trump changed his tune about the 67-year-old Congressman, writing on Twitter, “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!”
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2019
It was quickly met with criticism. “This is the fakest statement in presidential history,” wrote Adam Best. “Trump called his district rat-infested in a racist tirade and mocked him when burglars tried to rob his home. He shouldn’t get to even say the name Elijah Cummings.”
Another wrote, “Elijah Cummings was a true patriot, a warrior that fought for the citizens of Baltimore as fiercely as he fought for the rule of law. He was dignified, brave, loyal & supremely wise. In other words...Rep. Cummings was everything that YOU will never be.”
“Someone else obviously wrote this tweet expressing sadness over the passing of Elijah Cummings,” a third person wrote. “Recall that Trump celebrated the burglary of Cummings' home and insulted his beloved city of Baltimore using vile racist terms. I can't imagine Trump will be welcome at the funeral.”
Cummings died early Thursday morning at Johns Hopkins Hospital due to complications from long standing health challenges. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1996 and held his seat representing Maryland's 7th congressional district until his death. He was the active Chair of the House Oversight Committee.