Rep. Rashida Tlaib On Elijah Cummings: Mentor, Ally and ‘Squad Chairman’

Rep. Cummings passed away this week at 68. He chaired the committee Rep. Tlaib sat on, and the two both suffered attacks from President Donald Trump.

US Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland died this week at the age of 68. For Democrats, he was a steady and inspirational leader in his 20-plus years in the House.

Cummings chaired the powerful House Oversight Committee. Detroit Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is on that committee.

“He looked up at me and he said he was really proud of me and he thought I did a phenomenal job.” – Rep. Rashida Tlaib

In an interview with WDET’s Russ McNamara, Tlaib discussed how much Cummings meant to her. She relayed an emotional story about her first committee hearing on Capitol Hill.

Click on the player above to hear Rep. Rashida Tlaib talk about her relationship with the late Rep. Elijah Cummings.

“It was a hearing about the high cost prescription drugs,” Tlaib recalled.

The first person giving testimony was a mother who had lost her six-year-old daughter because she couldn’t afford insulin.

“I began to cry – was very upset about it. And I remember when it was my turn to ask questions and Chairman Cummings recognized me,” Tlaib said, “I tried to articulate my condolence to the mother.”

“After the hearing was over, one of the staff asked me to meet with the chairman, and I said ‘oh boy, did I do something wrong?’ He looked up at me and he said he was really proud of me and he thought I did a phenomenal job.”

Fighting back tears Tlaib said, “And at that moment I felt like I truly had a mentor and someone that was an incredible ally.”


  • Russ McNamara
    Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.