The flags at the White House and U.S. Capitol were lowered to half-staff on Thursday morning to honor the late Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsFormer GOP congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik suing Candace Owens for defamation Former Cummings staffer unveils congressional bid McCarthy, GOP face a delicate dance on Jan. 6 committee MORE (D-Md.).
Both flags were lowered after news broke overnight that Cummings, the powerful chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, had died at the age of 68 due to what his office described as “complications concerning longstanding health challenges.”
In a presidential proclamation later released by the White House, President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money MORE ordered flags at White House and all U.S. public grounds, military posts and naval stations and vessels to be flown at half-staff through Friday “as a mark of respect for the memory and longstanding public service” of the Maryland congressman.
Cummings’s death inspired an outpouring of statements recognizing the late congressman for his character and legacy and mourning his passing.
Trump, who has sparred with Cummings at various points during his administration, offered his condolences in an early morning tweet, recognizing the late Maryland congressman for his “strength, passion and wisdom” and calling him a “highly respected political leader.”
“My warmest condolences to the family and many friends of Congressman Elijah Cummings. 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!” the president tweeted.
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSanders, Manchin escalate fight over .5T spending bill Sanders blames media for Americans not knowing details of Biden spending plan Photos of the Week: Climate protests, Blue Origin and a koala MORE (D-Calif.) said in a statement that she was “personally devastated by his passing” and described him as the “North Star” in the House of Representatives.
“He was a leader of towering character and integrity, whose stirring voice and steadfast values pushed the Congress and country to rise always to a higher purpose,” Pelosi said. “His principled leadership as Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform was the perfect testament to his commitment to restoring honesty and honor to government, and leaves a powerful legacy for years to come.”
Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, ordered flags in his state to fly at half-staff in honor of Cummings, extending his “deepest sympathies” to Cummings’s family, friends and colleagues.
Cummings had represented Maryland's 7th District in Congress, which includes much of Baltimore, since 1996.
Cummings, who was already widely respected and known in Washington, captured national attention as he played a key role in investigations into Trump and his administration. Tensions between Cummings and Trump reached a high point over the summer, as the president attacked him as a “racist” and a “bully” and accused him of failing to address the problems in Baltimore.
--This report was updated at 12:11 p.m.