“I am friends with both men, President Trump and Chairman Cummings. I know both men well. Neither man is a racist. Period. Both love America,” Meadows said Monday in a statement.
“I think if we put aside partisanship with investigations we can find bipartisan solutions that will benefit not only Chairman Cummings’ district but the country as a whole. I’m committed to working to that end with both of them.”
Meadows, who is the chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus, has a close relationship with both Trump and Cummings, the Hill reported. His statement came the same day Al Sharpton, a Baptist minister and founder of the civil rights group National Action Network, said on MSNBC Monday that congressional Republicans suddenly have "laryngitis" in refusing to condemn Trump's criticisms of Cummings.
"We must say that we may not get him directly to ever grow up, but we can certainly make those around him know that you're going to go down with him or you're going to stand up with us," Sharpton said, noting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, another powerful Republican, faces his next reelection in Kentucky in 2020. Sharpton is to travel to Baltimore this week amid the controversy.
The feud broke out between Cummings and Trump after the president responded to Cummings’ recent criticism of the conditions in migrant detention facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The president called the congressman’s Baltimore district “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” Baltimore is "FAR WORSE and more dangerous" than any migrant detention facility operated by the U.S. Customs and Border Control, an agency whose leadership is appointed by the president, Trump added in a string of tweets.
Several of Cummings’ allies condemned Trump’s tweets as “racist,” given the majority of the constituents who live in the Baltimore district are African American. Trump pushed back, saying that Cummings himself is “racist” and should put more energy into improving his district.
Fox News’ Charles Creitz contributed to this report.