During her weekly press briefing on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) paid tribute to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who died suddenly overnight at age 68.
“Today’s a very sad day for us, as we all awaken to the sad news of the passing of our dear friend, revered and respected colleague, congressman—Mr. Chairman, Elijah Cummings of Maryland. My brother in Baltimore,” Pelosi told reporters. “In the Congress, Elijah was considered a north star. He was a leader of towering character and integrity... He lived the American dream and he wanted it for everyone else.” Pelosi spoke about the respect Cummings received throughout his long career as a civil servant, and his ability to work with lawmakers across the aisle.
“He always strove to reach across the aisle and treat all of our colleagues with respect, and even had dialogue with the president for a while,” Pelosi said. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also paid tribute, calling Cummings a “living legend.” “By all accounts, he was a powerful and passionate voice on the national stage, and a strong advocate for his neighbors, his district, and his values,” McConnell said. Pelosi, who worked closely with Cummings over his more than twenty years in the House, said she was “devastated by the loss.”