GOP's Meadows offers tribute to Elijah Cummings

GOP's Meadows offers tribute to Elijah Cummings
© Greg Nash
“We are called to give honor where honor is due, so it is fitting that we are here today to honor a friend," Meadows said at a memorial service in the Capitol rotunda, where Cummings laid in state Thursday one week after his death.
"He's called a number of things, father, husband, friend, chairman. For me, I was privileged enough to be able to call him a dear friend," Meadows said. "Some have classified it as an unexpected friendship, but for those of us that know Elijah, it's not unexpected or surprising.”

Meadows, a founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus, said he and the Democrat who helped spearhead the impeachment inquiry of President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE were able to get along because they could talk to one another, describing Cummings as a man who never broke his word. 

“Not only is he a quality man, we were able to share a number of personal stories and intimate secrets that Elijah never shared with anyone because he was a man of his word and he said he never would,” Meadows said.  

Meadows said Cummings once told him that former Rep. Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaDCCC reserves new ad buys in competitive districts, adds new members to 'Red to Blue' program Wife of former Rep. Duncan Hunter sentenced to 8 months of home confinement Harris endorses Democrat in tight California House race MORE (R-Calif.), who Cummings memorably tangled with during Issa's chairmanship of the Oversight and Reform Committee, would make him famous.

Meadows said he disagreed, and that he had reminded Cummings "not too long ago" that he would be defined by his own actions.

“I reminded him not too long ago of a quip that he made, he said that Darrell Issa was going to make him famous," Meadows said. "And I reminded him that he is not defined by other people, he's defined by the character of his heart, the honesty of his dialogue, and the man that we will miss.” 

Meadows concluded by quoting Scripture and stating that the world could benefit from more bipartisan friendships like the one he formed with Cummings, one of his closest colleagues in the lower chamber. 

“Scripture talks about, 'let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions,'” he said.  

“'If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.' So Elijah has left his tent to go to a mansion, a better place. Perhaps this place and this country would be better served with a few more unexpected friendships. I know I have been blessed by one.”

Cummings, 68, died last Thursday after a long battle with health complications.