Speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV.) said today that, while he respects Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), but cannot accept Lewis’s observation that President-elect Donald Trump is not a "legitimate president."
"I've got the utmost respect for Congressman Lewis, he's an icon, if you will, and we all have the most respect for him," Manchin said. He added, "I just think that was uncalled for. I just wish that rhetoric would tone down from both back and forth."
Commenting on Russia, which Lewis blamed for meddling in the election, the West Virginia Democrat said that President Vladimir Putin of Russia will be the winner if "this bickering going on back and forth" continues. "That's what we have to stop," Manchin said.
"We're bigger than this, and we're going to show them we're not going to change and not going to alter how we work and function as Congress, as a government and the United States of America." He added that the bickering is "non-productive."
Lewis, who belongs to the Congressional Black Caucus and the Progressive Caucus, was once a leader in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. He was among protesters beaten and bloodied on “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, in 1965.
"I believe in forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with people. It will be hard. It's going to be very difficult. I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” Lewis said in an interview with NBC that aired on January 13. “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton,” he added.
Trump hit back, accusing Lewis of not doing enough for his district and delivering "no action or result." He also called on Lewis to cooperate, saying that he “needs all the help” he can get.