At a press gaggle last night, Rep. Elijah Cummings delved into some of the details from an impromptu Wednesday phone conversation with President Donald Trump.
Earlier that day, Cummings had appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to talk about Donald Trump’s first days in office, his recent slew of executive actions — including gag orders on several federal agencies’ employees and a federal hiring freeze — and his “trivial” controversies. The fiercely loyal Democratic representative was generally critical of Trump, but noted that they found some common ground on the issue of prescription drug pricing. Cummings asked Trump on-air to call him to set up a meeting, and that’s exactly what he did.
Courtesy of WBAL, one of the first things Cummings said Trump asked was, “How’s Katie?” Katie Malone, Cummings’ special assistant, lost six of her nine children in a house fire at her Northeast Baltimore home earlier this month. Malone was also injured in the fire; she was released from the hospital earlier this week.
Trump also said he wanted to “make some type of contribution to help her out” with funeral arrangements, according to Cummings. The Baltimore representative added that Vice President Mike Pence and some of his colleagues from Congress also called to express their condolences for Malone.
On the topic of drug pricing, Cummings said Trump recently told him, “the pharmaceutical companies are getting away with murder.” This is an issue near and dear to Cummings’ heart. He and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have teamed up for years to launch investigations into drug firms’ price hikes, bring pharmaceutical executives to testify before Congress in Washington and introduce legislation to regulate how prices are set in order to lower Medicare recipients’ costs.
On their most recent phone call, Cummings said Trump stated that “we will not agree on everything, but there are some things we will agree on,” and this is one of them.
Cummings said they still haven’t set up a time for a formal meeting. When they do talk again, he also wants to ask the president about what he and his Republican colleagues plan to do after they uproot the Affordable Care Act, his poorly backed allegations of nationwide voter fraud and his executive actions regarding federal employees.
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