- Carlos Barria/Reuters
- Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina on Monday defended Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings against recent attacks from President Donald Trump.
- Trump went after Cummings in tweets over the weekend, attacking his congressional district in Maryland, which includes Baltimore.
- After facing allegations of racism over his attacks on Cummings, the president called the Maryland lawmaker a racist.
- Responding to these personal attacks on Monday, Meadows said, “No one works harder for his district than Elijah [Cummings]. He’s passionate about the people he represents, and no, Elijah is not a racist.”
- Meadows and Cummings are known to be friends.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Republican Rep. Mark Meadows on Monday rejected President Donald Trump’s recent attacks on Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, roughly three days after the president’s onslaught of tweets against the Maryland lawmaker began.
Trump in tweets over the weekend accused Cummings of allowing his congressional district, which includes much of Baltimore, Maryland, to become consumed by poverty and crime. Trump described Cummings’ district, which is majority African-American, as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and a “very dangerous & filthy place.” After facing accusations of racism over his tweets, Trump called Cummings a racist.
Meadows on Monday texted former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who’s now a political commentator for CNN, stating, “No one works harder for his district than Elijah [Cummings]. He’s passionate about the people he represents, and no, Elijah is not a racist.”
The Republican lawmaker added, “I am friends with both men, President Trump and Chairman Cummings, and I know them both well, and neither is a racist. And he offered to go to Baltimore with President Trump to see what they could do to remediate some of the problems they have there.”
It’s well-known on Capitol Hill that Meadows and Cummings are friends, which had raised questions from some in the media as to why the North Carolina Republican wasn’t stepping up to reject Trump’s remarks.
Cummings is the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and during a hearing in February he helped resolve a dispute between Meadows and Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – a member of “the Squad” – after the North Carolina lawmaker felt he’d been unfairly characterized as a racist. At the time, Cummings referred to Meadows as one of his “best friends” on the committee.
In 2012, Meadows appeared to endorse a conspiracy theory that former President Obama was born in Kenya, stating, “2012 is the time we are going to send Mr. Obama home to Kenya or wherever it is.” Trump helped perpetuate this conspiracy theory, which is among the list of reasons he’s faced allegations of racism over the years.
Much like after Trump’s racist tweets aimed at “the Squad” roughly two weeks ago, Republicans have been overwhelmingly silent in response to the president’s attacks on Cummings and Baltimore. But with Meadows’ comments on Monday, at least one Republican has spoken in defense of Cummings.