‘I Couldn’t Do It’: Man Defends Not Shaking Mitch McConnell’s Hand At Elijah Cummings’s Funeral

Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Phillip Nieto Contributor
Font Size:

The man who refused to shake the hand of Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell at the funeral of late Rep. Elijah Cummings has spoken out, defending his decision to snub the majority leader.

Bobby Rankin, talking to the Washington Post on Monday, accused McConnell of withholding veteran aid to his deceased brother who died from cancer last October. (RELATED: Elijah Cummings’s Friend Snubs Mitch McConnell At Memorial Service)

“When I saw Mitch McConnell, all I saw was my brother’s face,” Rankin said. “Elijah Cummings reached across party lines trying to help my brother get his military benefits, and Mitch McConnell was one of the persons he reached out to.”

“I could not put my hands in the man’s hand who refused to help somebody who served his country. I couldn’t do it, because I was thinking about my brother,” he continued.


Rankin can be seen skipping over McConnell as he goes down a line shaking hands with Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

McConnell praised the late Baltimore representative in a speech during the funeral Friday.

“He celebrated its victories, sought to advocate for its needs, and worked to heal its wounds,” McConnell said, according to Newsweek. “He knew there was only one reason why a son of sharecroppers, a child who had literally had to bear the injuries of bigotry, and segregation, could graduate from law school, and eventually chair, a powerful committee in Congress.

“Only one reason, because principle leaders had fought to give kids like him a chance,” McConnell added.