Obama: Cummings showed us 'the importance of checks and balances'
© Greg Nash

Former President Obama said Thursday morning that he and his wife Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaLizzo donates lunch to hospital workers battling coronavirus Biden could be picking the next president: VP choice more important than ever Lobbying world MORE are "heartbroken" over the death of Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsMaryland postpones primary over coronavirus fears Maryland governor: 'Simply not enough supplies' on hand to tackle coronavirus Meadows joins White House facing reelection challenges MORE (D-Md.).

In a statement shortly after news of the congressman's death broke, the former president said that Cummings's tenure as chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee showed the importance of "good people" overseeing the nation's system of checks and balances.

"Michelle and I are heartbroken over the passing of our friend, Elijah Cummings," the former president wrote. "As Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, he showed us all not only the importance of checks and balances within our democracy, but also the necessity of good people stewarding it."

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"Steely yet compassionate, principled yet open to new perspectives, Chairman Cummings remained steadfast in his pursuit of truth, justice, and reconciliation. It’s a tribute to his native Baltimore that one of its own brought such character, tact, and resolve into the halls of power every day," he added.

Cummings, a longtime congressman from Baltimore and civil rights leader, died "due to complications concerning longstanding health challenges," his office said, though further details were not immediately available.

Obama joined a long list of current and former Washington figures mourning Cummings, including the Oversight panel's ranking member, Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Dybul interview; Boris Johnson update Schumer names coronavirus czar candidates in plea to White House The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Guidance on masks is coming MORE (R-N.C.), a friend of the late congressman.

"There was no stronger advocate and no better friend than Elijah Cummings. I am heartbroken for his wonderful family and staff—please pray for them. I will miss him dearly," Meadows tweeted.