- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2017

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings on Thursday accused President Trump of fabricating a story about his ducking a White House meeting, saying he still looked forward to meeting with the president.

Mr. Trump said at press conference that he had agreed to a meeting with the Maryland Democrat but the congressman’s office was unresponsive to White House phone calls. He made a conjecture that Mr. Cummings could have been dissuaded by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer or “somebody like that, some other lightweight.”

“He was probably told, ‘Don’t meet with Trump. It’s bad politics,’ ” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Cummings fired back in a statement.

“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,” he said.

While denying Mr. Schumer told him what to do, Mr. Cummings did not deny avoiding a meeting with Mr. Trump.

However, Mr. Cummings did say that he still wanted to meet with the president to discuss plans for the Department of Health and Human Services to leverage lower prescription drug prices.

Mr. Trump said the congressman’s office wouldn’t set up the meeting.

“I actually thought I had a meeting with Congressman Cummings and he was all excited. And then he said, well, I can’t move, it might be bad for me politically. I can’t have that meeting,” Mr. Trump said when asked about meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus.

“I was all set to have the meeting. You know, we called him and called him. And he was all set. I spoke to him on the phone, very nice guy,” the president said.

Mr. Cummings, who is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said he didn’t know why his name came up when asked about the group.

“I also sincerely have no idea why the president made this claim in response to an unrelated question about the Congressional Black Caucus,” he said. “I am sure members of the CBC can answer these questions for themselves.”

Mr. Cummings served as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus from 2003 to 2005.

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