Congressional Black Caucus leader Elijah Cummings has responded to President Trump’s harsh claim today during a press conference that Cummings had refused to respond to Trump’s requests for a meeting, perhaps encouraged by Chuck Schumer. Cummings immediately released a statement through his congressional office refuting the claim and saying the President had made up the entire thing. Naturally he also took the time to mention his recent healthcare proposal.
“I have no idea why President Trump would make up a story about me like he did today. Of course, Senator Schumer never told me to skip a meeting with the President.
“I was actually looking forward to meeting with the President about the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs. What I have been doing for the past several weeks is working closely with my partner on these efforts, Senator Bernie Sanders. My goal was to finalize our proposal to allow HHS to negotiate lower drug prices so I could present it to the President. The President has said many times that he supports this proposal, so I wanted to have our bill ready to get his support.
“I also sincerely have no idea why the President made this claim in response to an unrelated question about the Congressional Black Caucus. I am sure members of the CBC can answer these questions for themselves.”
President Trump is not the typical American leader. So far he is governing like a CEO and his lack of political diplomacy is a source of amusement and consternation. In openly calling out Cummings as a source of blame he has also also openly put himself in direct opposition to the CBC. Whether or not that will matter much to his administration remains yet to be seen, but the leader of one of the most influential caucuses in Washington just called his President a liar. That’s kind of a big deal.
Also, clearly the President is setting himself up for an ongoing public battle with Chuck Schumer, and perhaps that was the underlying message of his bizarrely public thrashing of Cummings.
*Trump asks reporter April Ryan to set up a meeting with the CBC in an exchange at Thursday’s press conference.