Trump made his comments during an event at a criminal justice reform forum in Columbia, South Carolina, praising Cummings for his work to lower prescription drug prices.
“Not long ago I met with Elijah in the oval office and I saw the passion he had with me for lowering prescription drug prices. He had a very strong passion for that,” Trump said. “I have rarely seen anybody want to do something like that, and we are going to have that done.”
The president also added that with bipartisan support, the prices of prescription drugs would go “so far lower than they are right now.”
“I think people would be very surprised. So I want to give my warmest respects,” he said.
This was the first time Trump has spoken about Cummings’s death since the condolences he sent on Twitter. On Oct. 17, Trump said praised the Maryland lawmaker for his “strength, passion, and wisdom,” saying that he was difficult to replace.
“I got to see first hand the strength, passion, and wisdom of this highly respected political leader. His work and voice on so many fronts will be very hard, if not impossible, to replace!” Trump wrote at the time.
Cummings’s death on Oct. 17 shocked and saddened many on Capitol Hill, who expected him to return to Congress after a heart procedure at Johns Hopkins Hospital in September. Members from both sides of the aisle and friends have remembered him for being a civil rights leader and his commitment to service.
“He had a smile that would consume his whole face. But he also had eyes that would pierce through anybody that was standing in his way,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), whose bond with Cummings was among Congress’s most surprising friendships.
“Perhaps this place and this country would be better served with a few more unexpected friendships,” Meadows added. “I know I’ve been blessed by one.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) remembered Cummings as “truly a master of the House,” saying that he helped shaped America’s future.
“He was also the mentor of the House,” Pelosi said.
Over the past several months, Trump and Cummings have been involved in several public feuds. In July, Trump criticized the Democratic lawmaker for alleged neglect of his Maryland district and treatment of border patrol officials. Meanwhile, at the time of his death, Cummings, who is the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, was co-leading an impeachment investigation into allegations of Trump’s conduct during a call with Ukraine.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.