Rep. Elijah Cummings was laid to rest Friday in a stately funeral service attended by hundreds of mourners, constituents and supporters.
Cummings, a longtime Maryland congressman known for his fervor for justice, died Oct. 17 after suffering complications related to long-standing health issues, his office said. He was 68 years old.
Hundreds of people lined up outside New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore to say goodbye to the beloved lawmaker. Cummings’ body returned Friday to the church where he once worshipped after lying in state at the U.S. Capitol the day before. He is the first African-American lawmaker to be so honored.
Former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton were among those who spoke at the funeral, honoring the congressman’s life and legacy. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton was also in attendance, along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“Elijah Cummings came from good soil,” Obama said in his eulogy, ABC News reported. “A leader who once said he would die for his people even as he lived every minute for them. His life validates the things we tell ourselves about what’s possible in this country — not guaranteed, but possible.”
Bill Clinton praised Cummings’ selflessness, saying, “No matter how hard he fought and how hard he argued, he treated everybody how he wanted to be treated.”
“I love this man,” the former POTUS added. “I love every minute I ever spent with him, every conversation we ever had, I love his booming voice.”
The moment that stole the show, however, was the awkward encounter between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Ky.) and one of Cummings’ pallbearers during the Capitol ceremony on Thursday. Social media video emerged of the unidentified man refusing to shake the conservative lawmaker’s hand.
The man is seen going down the line and shaking hands with several lawmakers before coming to McConnell, whom he skipped and moved on. The conservative was visibly stunned by the snub.
The video sparked plenty of reactions online from users who couldn’t help but cackle at McConnell.
“Ha! We are NOT with the foolery,” one user wrote.
“Priceless,” another added. “Mitch McConnell looked as if he hoped no one saw that he was snubbed in front of the whole crowd. So glad that [Senator] Chuck Schumer was there staring him down as if to say ” … we ALL saw it Mitch.” I’m sure Elijah Cummings would have appreciated the moment.”
Another critic said “I wish Chuck had capped the moment with a nice big “HA!”
“I cannot stop watching this and laughing,” someone else chimed in.