Former presidents among many to attend funeral of late congressman

Former Preisdent Bill Clinton speaks at the funeral service for Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., at the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore, Md., on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. (Lloyd Fox/The Baltimore Sun via AP, Pool)

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Two former presidents, a former vice president, members of Congress and other dignitaries were among many to attend a final celebration of life for legendary Congressman Elijah Cummings.

At his funeral Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, paid tribute to Cummings, calling him the “North Star of the House of Representatives.”

“Our Elijah always made a seat at the table for others,” she said.

Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama also reflected on what Cummings taught them.

“I love this man. I love every minute I ever spent with him, every conversation we ever had – I loved his booming voice,” Clinton said.

“There’s nothing weak about being honorable,” Obama said. “You’re not a sucker to have integrity and to treat others with respect.”

Many reflected on how the late congressman challenged others in elected positions to work together – across party lines – to make America a better place for future generations.

“If you want to have a democracy intact for your children – and your children’s children and generations yet unborn we have got to guard this moment,” Hilary Clinton said.

“We needed to make sure that he went with the respect and dignity that he deserved,” Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Elijah’s wife, said.

On Thursday, Cummings became the first African American lawmaker to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol.