Fact Check

Did U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings Dine Lavishly in Italy With House Democrats?

Several African American legislators from the U.S. were part of a Congressional delegation that traveled to Italy and Ghana.

Published Aug 2, 2019

In July 2019, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings was in Venice, Italy, with other Democratic lawmakers.

Some social media users have claimed U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings was in Italy in late July 2019, dining at a fancy restaurant in Venice with other lawmakers. The claim went viral even though it's untrue — the following tweet and others like it remaineded live on Twitter despite spreading misinformation:

Cummings, a Democratic congressman who chairs the House Oversight Committee and has long represented Baltimore, was indeed "out of the picture" -- because he was thousands of miles away from Italy.

Pelosi's office released a list of 13 members of Congress who accompanied her on the trip, which was described as a delegation to visit the U.S. Army Africa headquarters in Italy, and then to Ghana to meet Ghanian President Nana Akufo-Addo and Ghana's speaker of Parliament Mike Oquaye, among others. The American legislators also planned to "pay respects at Cape Coast and Elmina Castles and the 'Door of No Return,' to observe the 400th Anniversary of the First Enslaved Africans Landing in America."

The legislators who accompanied Pelosi included "Majority Whip James Clyburn, Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus Karen Bass, Co-Chair of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee Congresswoman Barbara Lee and icon of the Congress, John Lewis." The list did not include Cummings.

Cummings has been the target of ongoing attacks from U.S. President Donald Trump and his supporters, which began when Trump angrily reacted to Cummings' criticism of his administration's treatment of migrant children in U.S.-Mexico border-detention facilities. Trump took to Twitter to attack the district Cummings represents, which includes Baltimore:

The false rumor that Cummings was in Italy along with other Democratic leaders was spread by a number of social media users with large followings, including Matt Gaetz, a Republican member of Congress from Florida:

This isn't the first time Gaetz spread misinformation online. In October 2018, he helped launch a false, anti-Semitic rumor that billionaire philanthropist George Soros had paid Central American migrants to travel in a caravan to the U.S. That rumor spread widely, and shortly afterwards, Soros received a bomb in his mailbox. No one was injured in the incident.

Cummings was not traveling with Speaker Pelosi's delegation to Italy and Ghana in late July 2019, so we rate this claim "false."


Associated Press.   "Rep. Cummings Not on Trip to Italy."     31 July 2019.

Speaker.gov.   "Pelosi Leads Delegation to Ghana and U.S. Army Africa Headquarters."     26 July 2019.

Rothschild, Mike.   "No, Ilhan Omar, Nancy Pelosi, And El Chapo’s Wife Aren’t Conspiring in Italy."     The Daily Dot.   31 July 2019.

Rashbaum, William K. et al.   "Explosive Device Is Found in Mailbox at Soros’s Home in N.Y. Suburb."     The New York Times.   22 October 2018.

McCoy, Kevin.   "Pipe Bomb Suspect Cesar Sayoc Expected to Plead Guilty in Spree Aimed at Trump Critics, Including Obama, Biden and Clinton."     USA Today.   16 March 2019.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more