While attending a memorial ceremony for the late Rep. Elijah Cummings at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seemed caught off guard when a pallbearer declined to shake hands.
The moment was captured in video that quickly went viral on social media.
Rankin didn’t appear to hesitate when overlooking the Kentucky Republican after shaking hands with Rep. Jim Clyburn, Rep. Steny Hoyer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Schumer.
McConnell appeared instantly stunned as he turned to Schumer. Rankin acknowledged Pelosi, who was next to McConnell.
McConnell didn’t dwell on the awkward moment, however, as he eulogized Cummings in a speech later during the service.
“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,” he said in his speech. “Only one reason: because principled leaders had fought to give kids like him a chance.”
McConnell continued: “Chairman Cummings made it his life’s work to continue that effort. He climbed the ranks here in the Capitol, not because he outgrew his hometown but because he was so committed to it.”
A Democrat from Maryland, Cummings died on Oct. 17 at the age of 68. He is the first African-American lawmaker to be honored with a lying-in-state ceremony at the Capitol.
“It’s been remarked that Elijah was a kind man … I was thinking I’d want my daughters to know how much I love them, but I also want them to know being a strong man includes being kind; that there’s nothing weak about kindness or compassion,” Obama, 58, told the crowd. “There’s nothing weak about looking out for others. There’s nothing weak about being honorable. You’re not a sucker to have integrity and to treat others with respect.”
“I love this man. I loved every minute I ever spent with him, every conversation we ever had,” Clinton, 73, said. “I loved his booming voice. But we should hear him now in the quiet times at night and in the morning when we need courage when we get discouraged, when we don’t know if we can believe anymore. We should hear him.”
President Donald Trump did not attend Cummings’ ceremony.