John Robert Lewis was an American politician and civil-rights leader who served in the United States House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death.
Lewis is remembered as a civil rights leader and as President Obama said “I mentioned in the statement the day John passed, the thing about John was just how gentle and humble he was. And despite this storied, remarkable career, he treated everyone with kindness and respect because it was innate to him. This idea that any of us can do what he did, if we’re willing to persevere.”
Lewis was one of the “Big Six” who organized the 1963 March on Washington. Lewis led the first of three Selma to Montgomery marches across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
In an incident that became known as Bloody Sunday, state troopers and police then attacked the marchers, including Lewis.
Everyone has recognized the monumental impact John Lewis has made to fight systematic racism and social injustice in the United States.
Everyone except President Trump.
When asked how history would remember John Lewis during an interview with Axios President Trump responded “I don’t know. I really don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know John Lewis. He chose not to come to my inauguration,”.
President Trump sees John Lewis’s legacy through the prism of missing inaugurations and the state of the union addresses.
Rather than noting Mr. Lewis’s contributions to humanity and the fabric of the United States, the President repeatedly mentioned the Georgia Democrat’s decision to not attend his 2017 inauguration.
“I can’t say one way or the other” Trump said when asked if he thought Lewis was impressive.
“I find a lot of people impressive. I find many people not impressive,” he continued. “He didn’t come — he didn’t come to my inauguration. He didn’t come to my state of the union speeches. And that’s OK. That’s his right.”
“He should’ve come. I think he made a big mistake,” he said.
Mr. Lewis was vocal against President Trump and said he was not a “legitimate president,”. In a Meet the Press interview Lewis said “ “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
It’s important to note, John Lewis did not attend George W. Bush’s 2001 inauguration as a protest against the infamous Florida hanging chad recount between Bush and Gore. That inauguration absence did not stop Bush, the 43rd President from saying ” John Lewis has been called an American saint—a believer willing to give up everything, even life itself to bear witness to the truth that drove him all his life.” at his funeral.
President Trump tweeted:
The President should have considered expanding on that tweet during his Axios interview.
Want the Edmund Pettus Bridge name changed to honor John Lewis?