Transcript for 'Send her back' chants 'very, very painful, extremely divisive': Rep. Elijah Cummings
We begin this morning with the chair of the house oversight committee, Elijah Cummings. Congressman, thanks for joining us this morning. You said the events of this week reminded you of 1962, you were 12 years old. Trying to integrate a pool in Baltimore. That's right, George. We were trying to integrate an olympic-size pool near my house and we had been constrained to a wading pool in the black community, and we tried to integrate it, and as we tried to March to that pool over six days, I was beaten, and all kinds of rocks and bottles thrown at me. And the interesting thing is, is that I heard the kind of same chants. Go home, "You don't belong here." And they called us the "N" word over and over again. George, I'm not the only person of color who's had those kind of experiences. And what it does, when the president does these things it brings up the same feelings that I had over 50-some years ago and it's very, very painful. It's extremely divisive and I just don't think this is becoming of the president of the United States of America, the leader of the entire world, we can do better than that. I don't care what anybody says. And I think our Republican friends have to stand up and say not that it might be inappropriate, they got to go further than that and say Mr. President, you're absolutely wrong. The president is doubling down this morning. This morning, a new tweet taking on the squad. He says, quote, I don't believe the four congresswomen are capable of loving or country. They should apologize to America and Israel for the hateful things they have said. They are destroying the democratic party, but are weak and insecure people -- I take issue with that. These -- I know -- keep in mind, that Ms. Pressley, Ms. Ocasio-cortez are on my committee. I interact with them every day. These are folks and women who love their country. And they work very hard and they want to move us towards that more perfect union that our founding fathers talked about. And so, when you disagree with the president, suddenly you're a bad person. Our allegiance is not to the president, our allegiance is to the constitution of the united States of America and the American people, and I'm going to tell you, these are some of the most brilliant young people that I have met and I'm honored to serve with them. The president's determined to make that squad the face of the democratic party right now. We have seen some pretty ugly politics this week, but are you worried that it might work for the president and his party? No, I'm not worried at all because I know that what it is doing is for the people who want to see our democracy intact, those people despise these kind of words and hate them, and for every person who's saying those kind of chants, probably two or three for every one of them who feel just the opposite. No matter where I go, what I'm hearing over and over again, from my constituents, is please, say save our democracy. George, they say I'm scared. I have not -- I have never in my total of 37 years in public service ever heard a constituent say they were scared of their leader. Scared of their leader? Scared of the president of the United States? Of the president of the United States, that's exactly right. Do you believe president trump is a racist? I've been politics in for 37 years. What did you say? Do you believe president trump is a racist? I believe -- yes, no doubt about it. I try to give him the benefit of the doubt. But I got to tell you, George, let me tell you, when I think about what he said to these young ladies, who are merely trying to bring excellence to government and trying to make sure that generations yet unborn have an opportunity to experience a true democracy, when I hear those things it takes me back like I said, and I can still remember bleeding from my forehead when people were throwing bottles, and these were adults, throwing bottles and saying go home -- and, again, he -- the president has to set the tone. He needs to be a role model. I would say to the president right now, right now, Mr. President, we want you to be a role model, we want somebody in that white house who our children can be proud of, who who our children can look up to, and that's not the kind of example that you're setting and I'm telling you, Mr. President, you and we, our nation is better than that. You clearly support the squad, those members of congress, have they made it harder for Democrats to concentrate? House Democrats had to pass a resolution distancing from congresswoman OMAR's comments that were seen as anti-semitic. Are they making it harder for Democrats to focus on the issue? Not really. I talked to all of them. Those are kind of instances that you just mentioned do present a distraction at times. But I realized that they're coming into a body that they've never served in before. But they come in with common sense and with a commitment to do the right thing. And so, again, they live and they learn and that's part of life. Do they have to tone it down? Have you advised them to do that? I said they have to say it in a different way. There's a way of saying things. You'll rarely hear me say the word "Racist" or call somebody a liar, for example and the reason I don't, I know how people take things, they get so caught up in the tone or in the language that they don't even hear the message. But you just said the president is a racist. My point is, that's -- what I'm trying to point out to you is that's very significant. Now, I, and again, George, I know what it feels like to be at the other end of those kind of comments and I see what's happening in our country with hate crimes going up, and we're getting more and more people being emboldened with racist, making racist statements and treating people badly, and that's not the way we should be. We need to be working with each other and together. I told my constituents our diversity is not our problem, it's our promise. Congressman Cummings, thanks for your time this morning.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.