Congressional pharma critic Cummings hits back after Trump's erratic presser

Elijah Cummings Jason Chaffetz
Pharma watchdog Rep. Elijah Cummings said he had “no idea why President Trump would make up a story" about him.

Political tensions flared on Thursday in Washington after President Donald Trump told reporters during a press conference that Rep. Elijah Cummings skipped a meeting where the two were to talk drug prices, a claim Cummings swiftly denied. 

At Trump’s Thursday afternoon presser, the president voiced his theory that Cummings was advised to skip the meeting because “it’s bad politics.”

“That’s part of the problem in the country,” Trump said.

But in a statement, Cummings countered: “I have no idea why President Trump would make up a story about me like he did today."

"I was actually looking forward to meeting with the President about the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs," he continued.

The Maryland representative said he’s been working with his partner and another another pharma critic, Sen. Bernie Sanders, to formulate a proposal to allow the government to lower drug costs through negotiations. He still looks forward to meeting with Trump, he said.

“I hope the President will make good on his promise to finally allow HHS to negotiate lower drug prices on behalf of American families,” Cummings added.

Before taking office in January, Trump pivoted to the drug industry at another of his press conferences to say that pharma is “getting away with murder.” Since then, he has met with pharma companies to talk taxes, pricing and regulations, with the industry largely coming away from that confab pleased with his ideas.