Baltimore’s own Elijah Cummings was recently quoted by none other than Donald Trump as saying the president will be among the finest heads of state the country has ever seen. One big problem: Cummings says that never happened.
Trump told The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, “Elijah Cummings…was in my office and he said, ‘You will go down as one of the great presidents in the history of our country.’”
A swift and embarrassing response came from Cummings today in a statement shared with various outlets: “During my meeting with the President and on several occasions since then, I have said repeatedly that he could be a great president if … IF … he takes steps to truly represent ALL Americans rather than continuing on the divisive and harmful path he is currently on.”
Cummings and Trump sat down together in March to discuss an issue that serves as a small island of common ground between the two: prescription drug pricing. The gathering, which also included U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, Johns Hopkins Hospital’s president and Vermont Rep. Peter Welch, reportedly went pretty well.
Cummings’ camp presented the president with legislation that would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices with major pharmaceutical companies, and the Maryland representative said the president was “enthusiastic” about the idea.
Apparently, Cummings also told felt Trump how he might be able to secure a strong legacy, which he said would be by fighting voter suppression efforts, stopping discriminatory treatment of immigrants and ending his habit of saying things that negatively characterize African-Americans.
President Trump appears to have interpreted that as an all-out endorsement that the former real estate mogul would be among the country’s top presidents of all time.
This isn’t the only time the two have had a very public missed connection. Leading up to their March meeting, Trump said Cummings broke an appointment to speak with the president at the White House. As in this case, Cummings rebuffed that claim, saying the president appeared to have made that up.