Tag Archives: Elijah Cummings

POTUS exhibits bottomless pit of indecency

This is a Twitter message that the president of the United States fired off this morning.

Elijah Cummings is a Baltimore congressman with whom Donald Trump has ignited a feud regarding Cummings’s criticism of the president. He has called Baltimore a “rate- and rodent-infested” hellhole unfit for human habitation. He blames Cummings for it.

Then we hear that Cummings’s home was robbed. This tweet is the president’s response to the news.

Picture any president of the United States expressing such utter disdain for the misfortune that fell on a fellow elected official. What might the public reaction be?

Yet somehow, in ways that defy my ability to discern any sense of what goes through what passes for the mind of Donald Trump, he gets away with it.

This individual — our head of state — is a disgrace.

Presidents must never denigrate communities

Donald John Trump won an election in 2016 to be president of the entire United States of America.

Why, then, can this individual say with a straight face that one of this country’s great cities in effect is not fit for human habitation?

The president has gone after U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, who represents a largely African-American congressional district in Baltimore, Md.

My memory at times fails me, but I am trying to remember ever hearing a president say the things that Trump has said about Baltimore. The very idea that he would chastise a community and its elected representatives using language such as what he used is reprehensible on its face.

He called Baltimore  a “rat- and rodent-infested” hell hole. No one should live there, he said. Why did he drag this issue into the sewer? Because Rep. Cummings, who has represented Baltimore for 23 years in Congress, has criticized the president’s policies. Trump responded by calling Cummings a “racist.” Of course, he repeated the idiotic mantra that he is the “least racist person” on Earth, which to my ears is the kind of thing that comes from the mouths of people with racist intent.

I simply cannot tolerate a president who denigrates communities in the manner that Donald Trump has done. He has castigated the leadership in cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and now Baltimore. What do they have in common? They’re all governed by politicians who disagree with Trump.

They also have something else in common. They all are part of a nation governed by the individual who has heaped insults on them.


Trump attacks pols who keep, um, keep getting re-elected

Donald Trump is on another Twitter binge, this time taking on U.S. House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, whose panel has been examining some issues relating to the way the president manages the executive branch.

Cummings has been, shall we say, highly critical of Trump. He’s a Democrat; Trump is a (sort of) Republican. There you have it. Enough said on that matter … for now.

Trump has said Cummings’s congressional district, the 7th of Maryland, is “rat- and rodent-infested.” He says it is unfit for human habitation, which if you think about it is a miserable insult to hurl at the human beings who live there. He calls Cummings a terrible representative for his largely African-American district.

I wonder: How is it that Cummings keeps getting re-elected? He has been serving his community for two decades … and then some! If he’s doing such a terrible job, why do his constituents keep sending him back down the road to D.C. to represent their interests in the halls of power on Capitol Hill?

That is how “representative democracy” is supposed to work. We elect men and women to represent our interests. If they do a good job, we send them back until they no longer want to run for re-election. If they do a poor job, we have the right — and the power — to boot them out of office.

The president ought to let the people Cummings’s congressional district be the judge on whether he’s doing a “terrible job” on their behalf.

Twitter tirades reveal deep, sinister weirdness in POTUS

Mr. President, I feel the need to call you out on your latest Twitter tirade, this one against yet another politician “of color.”

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings is one of the smartest, most astute and erudite members of Congress. Yet you have decided  yet again to go after this fellow in a Twitter rant that questions the quality of life in his Baltimore congressional district.

Your latest rant — not unlike the one you launched against those four Democratic congresswomen (all of color, of course) — was intensely personal.

Oh, and I also noticed you decided to verbalize some alleged concern about President Obama’s “book deal.” You want the Justice Department to probe that matter … which also happens to involve the nation’s first African-American president? Is that right?

Give me a break!

I don’t object so much that you have decided to use Twitter as a forum to make policy pronouncements. That’s your call. What is troubling, though, is that you do so without informing your staff. You catch them flat-footed, unable to respond cogently on what flies into cyberspace from your (allegedly) smart phone.

You also seem hell bent on castigating individuals such as Chairman Cummings and the four members of The Squad in intensely personal terms.

If you would limit your Twitter use to making positive pronouncements, well, that’s one thing. The good jobs numbers are fine. The budget deal that takes the government shutdown threats off the table for two years also is worth commenting on; one can debate the merits of the deal, certainly. Hey, I’d even accept your use of Twitter to argue for your side of the argument.

This constant haranguing, harassment and hassling of politicians — particularly those who, um, represent ethnic and racial minorities is seriously frightening to me.

You were elected to represent all Americans, Mr. President. Your constant use of Twitter to split the nation along racial, ethnic and partisan lines is disturbing in the extreme.

You vowed to cut back on your Twitter use. You pledged to “unify” the country. You said you would act “more presidential.”

On those key pledges, Mr. President, you are zero for three. You are not making America great again.

Pass the popcorn; this show is going to be a good one

I am going to have the popcorn handy when House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings gavels a hearing to order.

The Maryland Democrat and his fellow members of Congress are going to listen intently (I am presuming) to a potential superstar witness: Michael Cohen, the former friend and fixer of Donald J. Trump, the president of the United States.

Cohen is facing a three-year hitch behind bars for lying to Congress. He’s going to take an oath swearing him to tell the truth. He’ll then answer questions about what he knows about the president’s business dealings, his conduct, his attitudes toward women and racial minorities.

Cohen has said he is done lying on behalf of the president. He then is likely to be asked specifically about the lies he told for Trump.

Can’t you just feel the excitement building? Maybe. Maybe not. I am, though, highly interested in hearing what this admitted felon has to say to members of Congress.

Then again, there might be what they call a “nothing burger” offered up by this soon-to-be prison inmate. Part of me thinks that’s possible.

A bigger part of me believes he is going to spill plenty of beans and that there might be more than a few jaws dropping in that House committee hearing room.

The power of education shows itself in this man

Elijah Cummings is the new chairman of the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee. He is a Maryland Democrat who’s represented the Baltimore area for more than 25 years in Congress.

“60 Minutes” interviewed Cummings tonight, exploring how he intends to run the committee that on Feb. 7 is going to question Michael Cohen, the convicted felon who once was Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and his so-called “fixer.”

The interview covered a lot of ground, including Cummings’ background as the son of Pentecostal ministers; both Mom and Dad were preachers.

He talked about how his father instilled in young Elijah the value of education.

His father told him that “if you miss any school that means you died the previous night.” Cummings told “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft that he “never missed a day of school.”

That’s what I call discipline. Pay attention, Michael Cohen. You are going to be facing a tiger.

Trump team continues to ‘unify’ Congress

Donald Trump’s effort to “unify” Congress is continuing to produce a bumper harvest.

For instance, the U.S. House Oversight Committee chairman, Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah, has called for an investigation into senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway’s apparent shilling for Ivanka Trump’s line of clothing. Ranking Democratic committee member Elijah Cummings of Maryland joined Chaffetz in seeking to know whether Conway violated federal ethics laws.

The lawmakers sent a letter to the head of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, Jr., suggesting that Conway’s appearance on “Fox and Friends” could have crossed the line that bans federal officials from promoting private business endeavors.

Chaffetz and Cummings have recommended punishment for Conway.

Trump, quite naturally, is standing by Conway, who has told the media that the president is “100 percent behind me.”

Ethics just keep getting in the way.

The president’s myriad business interests — along with those of his grown children — are likely to continue dogging the administration until all of the Trumps decide to divest themselves of all that lucrative activity.

Meanwhile, I will give the president a left-handed compliment. He vowed to “unify” the country. He is keeping that pledge by unifying some of our elected representatives — although clearly not in ways he envisioned.

Foes team up for security reform

It turns out that two leading members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee aren’t enemies for life after all.

Republican Chairman Darrell Issa and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings are on the same page regarding the Secret Service. They want a broad investigation that examines the culture that seems to pervade the agency charged with protecting the president of the United States.


Their concern is legit. The Secret Service has been pounded in the media and on Capitol Hill for the horrendous security lapses that have placed the president in potential peril. The agency’s director, Julia Pierson, has resigned. Issa and Cummings have sent Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson a letter asking to examine a full range of issues that have resulted in what they call “embarrassing security mistakes.”

We’ve had the fence-jumper who ran through the front door of the White House. That incident came after an armed convicted felon got into an elevator with President Obama in Atlanta, standing only a few feet from the head of state.

The Secret Service is in trouble. It needs fixing. Congress has been justifiably outraged over these embarrassing matters.

Issa and Cummings have had their differences over their committee’s handling of the IRS matter and the Benghazi controversy.

On this one, they’ve locked arms and are demanding answers.

Political animosity appears to come and go, according to the issue of the moment.

I’m OK with that.

Where's the fairness?

Good journalism — be it print or broadcast — relies on relatively few basic tenets.

Accuracy is one. Thoroughness is another. So is fairness.

And fairness requires that you seek out both sides of a dispute, such as one that recently erupted in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Chairman Darrell Issa, a Republican, shut down a hearing as the ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings, sought to pose a question of Lois Lerner, an Internal Revenue Service official at the center of a controversy that some folks want to turn into a full-blown scandal.

The IRS has been criticized for its vetting of conservative political action groups seeking tax-exempt status. What the right-wingers don’t acknowledge, of course, is that the IRS does the same thing to liberal groups.

Back to journalism’s fairness tenet.

The Rev. Al Sharpton — a liberal MSBNC talk show host — interviewed Cummings the other day to get his side of the story. One liberal would “interview” another liberal.

Meanwhile, Issa was making the rounds on the Fox News Channel to give his version of events. Conservatives were “interviewing” a conservative.

My strong preference would be for Cummings to talk to the Fox guys and Issa to talk to the MSNBC guys. Let the liberal news/commentary network get the other side’s version of a controversy and have the conservative network get the liberal’s version of events.

That’s one way to define — if I can borrow a phrase — a “fair and balanced” approach to journalism.

Congressional dust-up ends with apology

That was a brief tempest on Capitol Hill.

What figured to be a festering sore on Congress has ended with an apology from the chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee to the panel’s ranking minority member.

Now, let’s all get along, shall we?


Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., had the turned the microphone off while ranking member Elijah Cummings, D-Md., had sought to “question” Lois Lerner, the Internal Revenue Service official who had taken the Fifth while refusing to answer questions relating to the IRS political action committee investigation controversy that just won’t go away. Seems that congressional Republicans continue to smell blood in the water and want to make hay whenever possible.


Issa disrespected Cummings by turning off the mic and then walking out of the hearing room while Cummings was expressing his anger at the way he was being treated.

The House of Representatives the next day rejected a resolution to condemn Issa for his boorishness.

Issa then called Cummings and apologized. Issa said, “As chairman, I should have been much more sensitive to the mood of what was going on, and I take responsibility.” Cummings accepted the apology. Both men said they want to move on.

One way to put this issue behind them — and us — is to stop the incessant questioning of officials when they know they won’t get any answers to a controversy that’s been covered to the nth degree. Issa still appears to be looking for any White House involvement in what’s been determined to have been an IRS field office decision to probe conservative PACs closely in their request for tax-exempt status. Let’s also note that the IRS has done the same thing to liberal PACs.

Cummings was angry at the badgering.

Issa was gentleman enough to apologize.

So, guys, let’s get on with the business of governing.