Former President Barack Obama was one of several high-profile Democrats to speak at a touching service for the late chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings.
He passed away last week at the age of 68 and was laid in state at the Capitol on Thursday. As such, Cummings became the first African-American lawmaker to receive the rare honor of being laid in state in the U.S. capitol.
Obama delivered a powerful eulogy that perfectly complimented the late congressman’s style of leadership and how he treated others even though his position held great power, according to The Hill.
“He was never complacent, for he knew that without clarity of purpose and a steadfast faith and a dogged determination demanded by our liberty, the promise of this nation could wither. Complacency, he knew, was not only corrosive for our collective lives, but for our individual lives,” Obama said, garnering applause from those in attendance.
Though politics was largely kept out of the service, some interpreted Obama’s next remarks as a subtle message to President Donald Trump.
“There’s nothing weak about kindness and compassion. There’s nothing weak about looking out for others. There’s nothing weak about being honorable. You’re not a sucker to have integrity and to treat others with respect.”
A number of other Democrats, including former President Bill Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also spoke at the service.
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings used part of her remarks during the service to let Obama know that her late husband was “proud” of the years of service he had working side-by-side with Obama throughout his political career, even into his presidency.
Former President Obama remembers Rep. Elijah Cummings: “Being a strong man includes being kind. There’s nothing weak about kindness and compassion. There’s nothing weak about looking out for others... You’re not a sucker to have integrity and to treat others with respect.” pic.twitter.com/YqQ5miyq1R— CNN (@CNN) October 25, 2019
As beautiful as the service was reported to be, it wasn’t without minor controversy. As reported by The Inquisitr, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was seemingly snubbed by one of the pallbearers who shied away from shaking the senator’s hand.
Apparently, as the pallbearer made his way down a line of lawmakers for whom he shook hands and embraced, he skipped McConnell altogether. Still, he shook Sen. Chuck Schumer’s hand, and Schumer was standing next to McConnell in the line.
McConnell did, however, deliver touching remarks at the service, having served with Cummings throughout his decades-long service to the United States in Congress. The senator praised Cummings for battling through an age of segregation and racism only to eventually graduate from law school and hold a powerful position in the halls of U.S. Congress.
“Now, our distinguished colleague truly has gone home,” McConnell said. “Home to his father’s house.”