Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said he has “no doubt” President Donald Trump is a racist following the president’s recent attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color in which he told them to “go back” to other countries.
“What I’m hearing over and over again from my constituents is, please save our democracy,” Cummings told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.
“They say, ‘Im scared.’ And I have never in my total of 37 years in public service ever heard a constituent say that they were scared of their leader,” Cummings said, referencing Trump.
RELATED: Rep. Elijah Cummings
Rep. Elijah Cummings
Rep. Elijah Cummings
US Congressman Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, speaks at the White House in Washington, DC, March 8, 2017, after a meeting with US President Donald Trump. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US Congressman Elijah Cummings (R), D-Maryland, and US Congressman Peter Welch, D-Vermont, speak at the White House in Washington, DC, March 8, 2017, after a meeting with US President Donald Trump. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 09: (L-R) Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Ben Cardin (D-MD), House Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) hold a news conference to call for an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election at the U.S. Capitol January 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. Accusations of Russian computer hacks of Democratic National Committee servers and emails have lead to calls for an investigation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 23: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) (L) visits with Rev. Jesse Jackson during a reception in honor of the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture at the White House September 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will be among the guests to help open the museum to the public Saturday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday, July 25, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) hold a news conference to discuss ?legislation to lower drug prices and increase access to medications" on Capitol Hill in Washington September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Ranking member U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) (L) and chair Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) chat during a hearing at the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on "Examining Obama Transparency Failures" in Washington December 9, 2014. Obamacare consultant Jonathan Gruber apologized on Tuesday for his recent remarks about "the stupidity of the American voter," telling the congressional committee he did not think President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law was passed in a deceptive manner. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH)
Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) speaks during a news conference about his former staff, who lost six children of her children in an overnight fire in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston
Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake speaks as U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) looks on during a news conference on the demonstrations for Freddie Gray, who died following an arrest by the Baltimore police department, in Baltimore, Maryland April 26, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) asks questions during "The Security Failures of Benghazi" hearing on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. October 10, 2012. Diplomatic security in Libya was drawn down ahead of last month's fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi and U.S. officials did not have enough protection, the former head of a U.S. security team in Libya told lawmakers on Wednesday. REUTERS/Jose Luis Magana (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14: Congressman Elijah Cummings and his wife, Maya Rockeymoore, on the red carpet at the Congressional Black Caucus 20th Annual Celebration of Leadership in the Fine Arts at Sidney Harman Hall at the Shakespeare Theatre on September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shannon Finney/WireImage)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 25: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) gestures while delivering a speech on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 07: Committee chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) (R) talks to ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) (L) prior to a hearing before House Oversight and Government Reform Committee July 7, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing 'Oversight of the State Department,' focusing on the FBI's recommendation not to prosecute Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for maintaining a private email server during her time as Secretary of State. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves after receiving the endorsement of Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) during a grassroots event in Baltimore, Maryland on April 10, 2016. / AFP / YURI GRIPAS (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
Asked if he believes Trump is a racist, Cummings said yes.
“No doubt about it,” the Maryland lawmaker said. “I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but ... when I think about what he said to these young ladies who are merely trying to bring excellence to government ... it takes me back.”
The chairman of the House Oversight Committee said Trump’s vitriolic rhetoric toward the four freshman lawmakers ― Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) ― reminds him of the racism he faced in the 1960s.
Rep. Elijah Cummings says the "send her back" chants remind him of his experience in the fight for desegregation in the 60s: "When [Trump] does these things ... it brings up the same feelings that I had over 50 some years ago, and it's very, very painful" https://t.co/3Hpmyqr8Swpic.twitter.com/K1EHpNEvcV
“When the president does these things, it brings up the same feelings that I had over 50-something years ago,” Cummings told ABC. “It’s very, very painful. It’s extremely divisive. And I just don’t think that this is becoming of the president of the United States of America.”
Trump has said his tweets last Sunday, in which he told the lawmakers to “go back” to other countries, were not racist. All four women are Americans. Omar immigrated to the U.S. from Somalia as a refugee when she was 8 years old. The other three were born in the U.S.
The president’s comments inspired members of the crowd at his rally in Greenville, North Carolina, last week to chant “send her back” about Omar. His attacks on the four congresswomen ― known as “the Squad” on Capitol Hill ― as well as the “send her back” chants have drawn condemnation from Democrats and some Republicans.
Trump claimed he was “not happy” with the “send her back” chants, though he let them continue for 13 seconds for the rally and did not denounce them at the time. He has since called the rally-goers “incredible patriots.”
The House voted last week 240-187 to condemn Trump’s “go back” comments as racist, with just four Republicans joining Democrats in support of the resolution.