President-elect Donald Trump responded to remarks that Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) made, in which the Civil Rights Era leader and leading member of the Congressional Black Caucus questioning the legitimacy of the incoming presidency. On Twitter, Trump wrote: “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to…… mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results.”
As a coda to his assessment of Lewis, Trump concluded: “Sad!”
NBC’s “Meet the Press” released yesterday an early portion of its interview with Lewis, who said remarked about claims made by American intelligence agencies about alleged meddling by Russia in the past election. When asked whether he could reach out to Trump, Lewis answered, “I believe in forgiveness, I believe in trying to work with people. It's going to be hard. It’s going to be very difficult. I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”
Lewis is joining other Democrats who are boycotting the Inauguration Day festivities. Even so, both Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton will attend. Lewis was also an outspoken critic of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-IL), who is Trump’s choice to serve as Attorney General, at this week’s hearings in the Senate.
During the campaign, the WikiLeaks organization published emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, that revealed alleged collusion between Democrats, progressives, and members of the establishment media. The Obama administration has contended that the hacks were the work of Russians, but has stopped short of claiming that Russia played an important role in the election or in Hillary Clinton’s defeat.
However, Lewis sought to cast shade on the integrity of the vote and Trump’s legitimacy. “I think there was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians and others to help him get elected,” Lewis said. “That’s not right. That’s not fair. That’s not the open democratic process.”
Lewis was among the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington that featured the famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Trump's critics in Congress were quick to fire back at Trump, less than a week before the Inauguration. Among them was Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who said Lewis's "talk" had changed the world. Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (CA) and Ron Wyden (OR) lauded Lewis. Harris said Lewis "deserves better than this," and Wyden characterized Lewis as "an American hero." For her part, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) denounced what she said was Trump's attempt to "silence" Lewis.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) also blasted Trump, saying he "has no clue” about sacrifice. Rep. Yvette D. Clark (D-NY) tweeted that Trump is not fit enough to clean Lewis's boots.
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