BALTIMORE - In the months before his death, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings wrote that he endured "pure pain" from repeated Twitter attacks by President Donald Trump - whom he once wanted to trust - but resolved not to be baited into responding in anger.
"You can imagine it and try to dismiss it, saying he's just a blowhard and schoolyard tough guy, using his thumbs on Twitter like fists," the Baltimore Democrat wrote in a book being released next Tuesday. "But the reality, the harsh cold onslaught, is just pure pain."
Cummings, 68, a key figure in the Trump impeachment inquiry who died of cancer in October, fills in details in the memoir to his side of encounters with the Republican president, including an emotional White House meeting that Cummings said produced an unexpected promise from Trump.
The Baltimore Sun obtained an advance copy of the book, "We're Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy."
Cummings wrote that he had "what seemed to be a wonderful conversation" at the White House with Trump in 2017 when both were working on plans to lower prescription drug prices.
The congressman wrote that he was so emotional during the meeting that "a tear came to my eye" when describing families' struggles with the cost of needed medications.
"That's a real tear?" the book quotes Trump as saying.
"Yeah, Mr. President, it's real man. This ain't bull__," Cummings replies.
Cummings recalled telling the president that "if he could lower the cost of prescription drugs ... if he could do that for everyone, he could be a truly great president."
At the end of the conversation, the book says, the president replied "Let's get it done" when Cummings described legislation granting the federal government authority to negotiate drug prices on behalf of Medicare.