At Rep. Elijah Cummings’ memorial, Bobby Rankin, one of Cummings’ pallbearers, was captured skipping over Sen. McConnell (R-KY) while shaking hands with leading legislators in a now-viral video.
The story: Rankin, a close friend to Cummings, explained to the Washington Post why he avoided shaking hands with Senate Majority Leader, who appeared to be caught off guard by the move. He said he was unaware that the moment was caught on tape until the publication reached out to him for comments and clarified that he didn’t do it out of loyalty to Cummings, as many speculated.
In detail: Rankin said that his brother Jerry died of cancer after being exposed to contaminated water while serving in the Marines. They tried getting him veterans’ benefits and even asked Cummings for help. The late Baltimore representative reached out to several people on the other side of the aisle, including McConnell.
“When I saw Mitch McConnell, all I saw was my brother’s face,” said Rankin. “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.”
It is unclear why Rankin’s brother was denied veterans’ benefits or the role McConnell played.
Worth noting: The moment prompted the hashtag #thehandshakethatneverwas on Twitter. Many users praised Rankin and called him a “hero.”