Elijah Cummings pushed forward with his work after falling ill, as a new report says that the late Maryland congressman was still signing subpoenas to push the impeachment inquiry forward as he was laying in his hospital bed in his final days.
Cummings passed away in the early morning hours on Thursday at the age of 68, succumbing to health issues that had plagued him for years. But as Sheryl Gay Stolberg of The New York Times reported via Twitter, Cummings did not let the ongoing health issues stop his work as he held a conference call with Democrats and signed subpoenas to push forward the impeachment inquiry.
Cummings played a key role in the fast-moving impeachment inquiry as he served as chair of the House Oversight Committee, one of the three taking the lead in the probe on whether President Donald Trump pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on his political opponent, Joe Biden. Cummings signed subpoenas for a number of top White House officials as the House investigates whether Trump tried to press a foreign country into interfering in the 2020 presidential election.
There were signs in recent months that Elijah Cummings was in ill health, including a hospitalization in late 2017 that led to his wife dropping out of the Maryland governor’s race. Cummings had not participated in a roll call vote in Congress since September but still pushed the impeachment inquiry forward through the oversight committee.
Cummings also spoke out frequently against Donald Trump and his policies, often drawing disproportionate attacks from the president. In one controversial attack, Donald Trump described Cummings’ Maryland congressional district, one of the wealthiest majority-black districts in the United States, as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
The president’s attack, which followed just minutes after a Fox News segment that attacked Cummings’ district in response to his criticism of conditions in detainment camps for immigrant families, was widely decried as racist.
Democrats have offered praise of Cummings and his lifelong focus on equality, saying that his battles with President Trump were just a small part of his decades of services. Congressional Democrats have also said that they will continue his work, not letting his death slow the impeachment inquiry or jeopardizing the work Cummings had accomplished in investigating the president.
“We can never forget the role that he has played in searching for the truth,” said Congressman John Lewis, a close friend of Cummings, via Politico. “Members will be much more determined to pick up where Elijah left off. There can be no slowdown, or turning back.”