Rep. Elijah E. Cummings swatted away President Trump’s claim that the Baltimore Democrat wouldn’t meet with him after repeated calls from the White House.
Trump made the comment during a wide-ranging news conference Thursday and speculated that Cummings may have been dissuaded from coming to the White House for political reasons, perhaps by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), whom Trump dismissed as a “lightweight.”
“I have no idea why President Trump would make up a story about me like he did today. Of course, Senator Schumer never told me to skip a meeting with the President,” Cummings said in a statement.
Trump said Cummings “was all excited and then he said, ‘Well, I can’t move, it might be bad for me politically. I can’t have that meeting.’ ”
Trump continued: “But he probably was told by Schumer or somebody like that — some other lightweight. . . . He was probably told: ‘Don’t meet with Trump. It’s bad politics.’ And that’s part of the problem with this country.”
The musings came in response to a question about whether Trump would meet with the Congressional Black Caucus — of which Cummings is a high-profile member — to discuss crime in poor, urban areas.
The 11-term congressman and ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said he planned to talk to Trump about the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs.
But first, he said, he wanted to finalize a proposal he has been working on with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to allow the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices — a concept that Cummings says Trump has supported.
“I also sincerely have no idea why the President made this claim in response to an unrelated question about the Congressional Black Caucus. I am sure members of the CBC can answer these questions for themselves,” the congressman’s statement said.
Cummings noted that prescription drugs affect “every American family — not just people of color.”
The congressman told reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday afternoon that his office is working on setting up a meeting. “We’re looking forward to it,” he said. “I’m excited about meeting with the president. He’s my president, and I’m excited about meeting with him.”
Minutes after Trump’s news conference concluded, the Oversight Committee announced that Cummings had joined Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other Democrats in calling for a review of how the president and his staff handled sensitive national security materials at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach, Fla., resort.
In a letter, the lawmakers asked the Government Accountability Office to determine whether protocols were followed and to provide an accounting of taxpayer costs related to Trump’s stay at his private club, which he has dubbed the “Winter White House.”