Donald Trump issued a tweet on Thursday morning expressing condolences for the death of Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings. The message is a stark contrast to the president’s usual messages about the Democratic lawmaker, which usually feature racially-charged insults and criticism about his work.
According to The Hill, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee was one Trump’s most outspoken critics and one of the three people leading the impeachment inquiry into the president. The pair frequently clashed over the summer as Trump slammed Cummings and his home district, which includes Baltimore, and accused the Congressional leader of failing his constituents.
But on Thursday, Trump’s tone was gracious and somber.
“My warmest condolences to the family and many friends of Congressman Elijah Cummings,” he wrote. “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!”
According to Politico, earlier this year, the president sent multiple tweets calling the African-American lawmaker “a brutal bully” and saying that he has “failed badly!” After Cumming’s home in West Baltimore was burglarized, Trump faced criticism for writing a tweet that many felt was glib.
“Really bad news! The Baltimore house of Elijah Cummings was robbed. Too bad!” Trump wrote.
The president also attacked Baltimore, infamously calling the city “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being” should live. He also accused the city’s leaders of stealing federal funds.
Trump later claimed that his attacks on Cummings and the city had increased support from African American voters.
Cummings, for his part, was a vocal critic of the president. He frequently condemned Trump’s language and accused him of dividing the country further.
“Those in the highest levels of the government must stop invoking fear, using racist language and encouraging reprehensible behavior,” he said.
He also characterized the Republican-led Benghazi Committee, which investigated Hillary Clinton, as an attempt to sway the opinion of voters.
Thank you, @RepCummings.
What a life of passionate service and courage.
My heartfelt condolences to your wife, your family, the City of Baltimore, the United States and the world.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) October 17, 2019
As The Inquisitr previously reported, Cummings died at the age of 68 after battling health issues for some time. Cummings served in the House for 23 years. Though a cause of death wasn’t released officially, the Democrat had been struggling with heart issues for years. In July 2017, he had surgery on his heart and later suffered complications from that surgery.
The funeral arrangements for the political leader haven’t been announced at this point, and flags are flying half-mast across the country to honor him.