Obama calls for 'kindness,' honor in politics

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 26 2019 02:46 AM

Obama calls for 'kindness,' honor in politics 1
Former US President Barack Obama speaks during the funeral services for the late US Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) at the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 25, 2019. Chip Somodevilla/Pool via Reuters

Former US president Barack Obama called for honor and "kindness" in politics Friday during his eulogy at the funeral of Elijah Cummings, one of the key Democrats in the bruising impeachment battle with President Donald Trump.

Although not mentioning Trump by name, Obama's praise of the congressman as a politician unafraid to show humility was likely to be seen as a swipe at the abrasive Republican president.

"There’s nothing weak about kindness and compassion. There’s nothing weak about looking out for others. There’s nothing weak about being honorable," Obama said at the funeral held in Cummings' hometown of Baltimore.

Former president Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Clinton, who lost to Trump in a shock upset in 2016, also spoke at the funeral. A who's who of Washington players from both sides of the political aisle attended.

Obama, who was replaced by Trump in 2017 after reaching the end of his maximum two terms in office, was applauded in the church when he said that the "honorable" title given to legislators did not always mean they had honor.

"We're supposed to introduce them as honorable but Elijah Cummings was honorable before he was elected to public office. There's a difference," he said.

Cummings, who died last week at age 68, was the first African-American lawmaker to lie in state in the Capitol building in Washington, DC, ahead of his funeral.

At the time of his death, Cummings was chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, one of three panels probing allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Cummings and Trump clashed publicly, most notably in July when the president took to Twitter to bash Baltimore as a "rat and rodent infested mess" unfit for humans, blaming this on Cummings.