In a time of bitter political divide, hundreds of current and former U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle gathered at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday to honor longtime Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings..
Cummings is the first African-American to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol - a high honor usually bestowed upon presidents and military leaders.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER, SAYING: "Elijah Cummings did not just represent Baltimore, he embodied it." (SOUNDBITE) CHUCK SCHUMER, SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER, SAYING: "Those gathered here today lost a dear friend, and our country has lost a giant." Republican Mark Meadows, who Cummings called a good friend , was tearful as he spoke about his former colleague..
(SOUNDBITE) REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE MARK MEADOWS SAYING: "He's defined by the character of his heart the honesty of his dialogue and the man that we will miss.." The civil rights champion passed away last week at the age of 68 due to longstanding health challenges his office said..
For over the last quarter century fought for civil rights and became one of the most influential Democrats in Congress and a key figure in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump… Cummings, who is the son of African-American sharecroppers, had clashed with Trump on a range of issues including when Trump attacked Cummings' native city of Baltimore calling it 'rat-infested'..
Cummings responded in a speech saying that high-level government officials should "stop invoking fear, using racist language and encouraging reprehensible behavior." Former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are expected to speak at Cummings' funeral service in Baltimore on Friday…