Speed Reads

Rest in peace

House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings has died at 68

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, died Thursday due to "complications concerning longstanding health challenges," his office said in a statement. He was 68. He gained prominence as chair of one of three House committees overseeing the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, though the two had clashed over the summer when Trump insulted Cummings' home city of Baltimore and said four congresswomen of color should "go back" to other countries.

Cummings' office did not disclose the nature of his health problems, but the congressman had been in Johns Hopkins Hospital when he died, and he had faced health challenges since at least 2017, when he underwent a minimally invasive heart procedure that led to an infection, The Baltimore Sun reports. He used a wheelchair to get around and a walker when he stood, but said over the summer that his health was fine.

Cummings was first elected to the House in 1995. Before that, he had served in the Maryland state Assembly since 1982, becoming the first African American speaker pro tem. Born in 1951, Cummings was one of seven children. His parents, Robert Cummings Sr. and Ruth Elma Cummings, were sharecroppers until the late 1940s, when they moved to Baltimore, where Cummings was raised and continued to live until his death. Cummings struggled in elementary school but went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science from Howard University and a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. His wife, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, was elected chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party last year.