Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland has endorsed Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for president.
Being the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Benghazi panel, Cummings’ endorsement could bring both positive and controversial baggage to the former secretary of state’s campaign.
On April 10, Cummings published an op-ed on The Washington Post, in which he explained why he was endorsing Clinton.
"Families in Baltimore who are hurting right now need more than the promise of a political revolution," Cummings wrote, an indirect jab at Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Cummings commended Clinton as a candidate who "not only understands the challenges facing Baltimore and other cities" but has also "laid out a clear and detailed agenda that meets those challenges head-on."
The Democratic congressman appeared on stage with Clinton at a Maryland rally on April 10 to make his endorsement official. Following the rally, Cummings told reporters that the former secretary of state should adopt more of the priorities of her rival for the Democratic nomination, ABC News reports.
"My advice to [Clinton] would be to try to first of all embrace the types of things that Bernie Sanders is talking about and speak to the needs of those folks who really want to be supportive of progressive policies, and to me that’s most important," Cummings said.
The House member noted that Sanders speaks to issues that resonate with many Americans who feel left behind in the modern economy, but he added that " ... if you listen to Hillary Clinton, it’s clear that she’s getting it.”
Cummings is a top member of the House Oversight Committee investigating the 2011 Benghazi attack. His endorsement of Clinton is expected to be met with accusations of collusion and hypocrisy, according to Politico.
Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, the top conservative on the Benghazi panel, had been blasted by Democrats for endorsing Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida for president. Cummings could face the same backlash.
For his part, Cummings has chastised his fellow panel members in a statement released in early April, saying their investigation had "shockingly become even more partisan, secretive and dysfunctional," The Washington Post notes.
The Maryland presidential primary will take place on April 26.