Cummings: Democrats should work with Trump, but push back when "values clash"

Cummings will meet Pres. Trump
Cummings will meet Pres. Trump 03:53

Democrats should do their best to work with President Donald Trump, House Oversight Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) said Sunday, but they shouldn’t hesitate to push back when their “values clash” with the new president.

“I’ve got to work with him on the things that I can,” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “But John, where our values clash, we’ll have to go toe to toe, period.”

Cummings said it’s “very, very hard” to balance working with Mr. Trump and pleasing constituents back home, but that Mr. Trump is the president for the next four years and Democrats will have to find common ground in order to get things done for the American people.

“I’ve got people in my community who are suffering from cancer, they need treatment. I’ve got people who need jobs,” he said. “And I’ve got to work with this president. But at the same time, there’s nobody that has been tougher on this president than I have been.”

Cummings said he’s concerned about recent leaks to the media -- but that at the same time, the House Oversight Committee gets a great deal of its information from whistleblowers and leakers. He criticized chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) for being inconsistent in his position toward leaks.

“I’m always concerned about leaks. I really am,” he said. “Our committee gets a lot of leaks. And we get a lot of whistleblowers, John. When we were trying to address the Secret Service, Chairman Chaffetz welcomed the whistleblowers and leaks. Now that we’re getting leaks with regard to this issue, suddenly he wants to attack the leakers.”

He said Chaffetz has been too tentative when it comes to investigating Russian election interference.

“He has been very reluctant to look at anything having to do with Russian interference with our elections,” he said. “...They seem to be more anxious in looking for the leakers than dealing with the issue of our elections being interfered with, which I think is phenomenal.”

After Mr. Trump said during a press conference that he’d be interested in meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus, Cummings said a meeting is in the works -- and that he’d like to discuss prescription drug costs and

“I want to talk about prescription drugs, the high price of prescription drugs. And he has made it clear that he wants to do something about that,” he said. “I’m also going to, John, I’ve got to talk to him about voting rights. You know, he talks about this voting fraud, which is nonexistent. But he doesn’t talk about all of the millions of people who have been denied the right to vote because of suppression.”

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    Emily Schultheis

    Emily Schultheis is a reporter/editor for CBS News Digital.