Roland Martin talks with Congressman Elijah Cummings about Congressman Darrell Issa’s latest antics which include cutting off Cummings microphone during a hearing on the IRS.
Read the entire interview below.
ROLAND MARTIN : …Speaking of looking forward to something, did it get a little funky or what in Capital Hill a couple of days ago, in the hearing room where Congressman Darrell Issa cut the microphone off a brother, Congressman Elijah Cummings. And Congressman Cummings was about to straight go crazy. He joins us, he went off on Congressman Issa, and Congressman Cummings joins us right now. And Congressman, I told when you did the show you need to have a bullhorn next to your ankle next time so when he cuts your microphone off you can pull that bullhorn out and keep talking.
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: Yeah, I … you know, I think that Darrell Issa thought he was back in the 1930s or something. And I had to remind him that I am a member of the Congress of the United States too. And I represent over 700,000 people too. And you cannot have a hearing where the democrats are not allowed to say one syllable.
ROLAND MARTIN : What got me was when he said to the Republicans; y’all can go ahead and leave, and to Lois Learner, you can go ahead and leave too. Just like you didn’t even exist.
SYBIL WILKES : To the witnesses.
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: Well, the thing is, is that Darrell Issa has been investigating this IRS issue for the last nine months. He’s called 38 witnesses and all of them had said the so called targeting of the tea party groups. It has nothing to do with the President of the United States. It had nothing to do with the White House. It had nothing to do with politics. It was about them trying to figure out whether these tea party groups and others, and by the way, they also looked at liberal groups, progressive type groups, whether or not they were indeed doing more political work than they were doing social welfare. And in order to get that status from before he had to have at least more than 50% of their work being in the social welfare area. And that’s what they were confused about. It wasn’t that they were trying to target anybody, but Issa doesn’t want to hear that. And he’s been trying to pull the President in this thing for nine months. The IRS has spent $14 million dollars just answering subpoenas. And he’s gotten nowhere. And the reason why he wanted to shut me up was because I was going to have the lawyer for Ms. Learner to give us what’s called a proper to tell us what she would’ve said if she hadn’t taken the 5th. And he didn’t want, apparently, to hear that.
ROLAND MARTIN : Now here’s what’s crazy, so first of all, the Congressional Black Caucus of the other democrats went after Issa, demanded that he be removed as Chairman. They actually forced a vote on the issue as well. And Congressman Issa, he tweeted you an apology.
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: Yeah, yeah.
SYBIL WILKES : That’s big of him.
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: He called me and then he tweeted.
SYBIL WILKES : He called you?
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: He basically said, at the end of our conversation he said; I’m sorry.
SYBIL WILKES : Wait. He called you, and you all talked, and at the very end he said; I’m sorry?
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: Yeah. Yeah. He called me actually about something else, and at the end of it he said; I’m sorry and I shouldn’t have acted that way.
SYBIL WILKES : And what was your response?
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: I just said; we cannot operate like this. That this is America and that, you know, I accepted Issa’s apology but I said, you got to do better than this, brother. You got to do better.
ROLAND MARTIN : Did you also remind him where The Wire was based that’s where you actually live?
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: I told him, yeah, I always remind him that I been living 32 years in the neighborhood where The Wire was filmed with the brothas and the sistas …
TOM JOYNER: That have somebody.
ROLAND MARTIN : Why don’t you invite Congressman Issa over to the house for dinner just so he can know.
TOM JOYNER: Yeah.
SYBIL WILKES : But …
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: …You know what, the brothers in my neighborhood know him by first name and last name. I think they would welcome him.
SYBIL WILKES : Congressman, on a serious tip though, we’re talking about this election year, politicking, and grandstanding and all of this kind of stuff. And obviously the republicans are scrambling trying to get some foothold in the elections, for the midterm elections, but this can’t go forward in allowing them to do this kind of thing.
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: You’re absolutely right. Basically what this is – I’m glad you said that. They’re trying to, first of all, they’re not going to do any work, they pretty much said that.
So therefore they’re trying to take Benghazi, Obamacare, and the IRS and drag it into November’s election. That’s what this is all about.
SYBIL WILKES : So let’s call them out each and every time, like you have, each and every time they do this, and it is a really profound movement on their part because they don’t have anything.
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: They don’t have anything. They didn’t have an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare.
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: He has definitely not been truthful with regard to Benghazi. I mean we have had hearing after hearing and interview after interview and they’re still trying to tag Hillary Clinton with not rendering aid when she could’ve, which he knows is not true, but just last Sunday, the Sunday before last, went on national TV saying that she failed deliberately to send aid to our people in Benghazi who were killed. That’s not true.
SYBIL WILKES : And if people don’t go to the polls in November, they have an opportunity to take over the United States Senate and really get an even stronger foothold in the Congress.
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: You are absolutely right. Absolutely. You blew this all down. That’s right. We’ve got work to do.
Soundbite: [ Don’t turn off my microphone.]
TOM JOYNER: Have you ever seen such disrespect?
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: No, I have not. And, you know what …
TOM JOYNER: Calling the President a liar to the State of the Union … to cut his microphone off?
SYBIL WILKES : They’re doing all of these actions and disrespecting people like Congressman Cummings and doing it and getting the applause of the people who hate the President and disrespect the party.
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: That’s exactly right, because we got a lot of calls in my office from haters that consistently use the N word over and over again.
SYBIL WILKES : See.
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: About 90% of them, or other people, were saying; thank you for doing that.
ROLAND MARTIN : Wow.
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: So.
SYBIL WILKES : They got work to do.
TOM JOYNER: My man.
ROLAND MARTIN : Congressman, the brothers from the hood got your back. So let us know when we need to show up at a hearing, we’ll make sure that microphone stays on next time.
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: Evidently we should have a hearing in my neighborhood.
ROLAND MARTIN : Oh, yeah, you’re going to be about your damn self on that one. You’re gonna have all the microphone time you want.
TOM JOYNER: From Baltimore ….
ROLAND MARTIN : Congressman Cummings, thanks a lot.
CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS: All right, bye-bye.
TOM JOYNER: Roland Martin’s commentary is brought to you by TD1. (Laugh) Have you ever seen such disrespect?
SYBIL WILKES : No.
SAB: He even did the cut the microphone sign.