Late Rep. Cummings hailed as ‘North Star’ for Democrats

Matthew Daly
Associated Press

Washington –The late Rep. Elijah Cummings was hailed as the “North Star” for fellow House Democrats as congressional leaders and colleagues paid tribute to him at a Capitol ceremony Thursday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., a close personal and political ally, also said that “Elijah was truly a master of the House.”

The flag-draped casket of the late Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., is carried in the Capitol
Thursday in Washington.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., recalled Cummings’ efforts to calm his native Baltimore amid violent 2015 protests following the death of a black man, Freddie Gray, in police custody. Cummings’ involvement, taking to the streets with a bullhorn, helped quiet the disturbances.

By day, Cummings was at the Capitol in the halls of power, McConnell said, but at night he returned Baltimore to encourage unity.

“Let’s go home. Let’s all go home,” McConnell recalled Cummings saying at the time. “Now our distinguished colleague truly has gone home.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Rep. John Lewis and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, attend memorial services for the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday.

The public was to have the chance to pay respects to Cummings later Thursday in Statuary Hall.

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Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, died Oct. 17 after complications from long-standing health problems. A wake and funeral are planned Friday in Baltimore.

A sharecropper’s son, Cummings rose to become a civil rights champion and a leader of an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

As a tribute to Cummings, no votes were scheduled Thursday in the House.