Article Lead Image

Screengrab via MeetThePress/Facebook

Donald Trump rips Congressman John Lewis on Twitter after his legitimacy was questioned

On the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, no less.


Samantha Grasso


Posted on Jan 14, 2017   Updated on May 25, 2021, 5:07 am CDT

President-elect Donald Trump has hit back at comments from Georgia Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis, who said Friday Trump was an illegitimate president.

After Lewis told NBC News’ Chuck Todd that he doesn’t “see this president-elect as a legitimate president” during an interview for Meet the Press, Trump fired back early Saturday morning, effectively telling Lewis to focus on his own constituents.

During the Meet the Press interview, Lewis told Todd that he will not be attending the president’s inauguration. Echoing reports from the CIA, Lewis expanded by saying he thought the Russians hacked the election and helped destroy Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton‘s candidacy.

[Placeholder for embed.]

“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,” Lewis said. “I don’t plan to attend the inauguration. It will be the first one that I’ll miss since I’ve been in Congress.”

With this upcoming Monday being Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Trump’s reaction to the criticism appears tone-deaf to some. Before being elected to Congress in 1986, Lewis built his political career as a civil rights leader in the ’60s, serving as a president of the civil rights organization, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and acting as one of the original freedom riders who fought for the enforcement of desegregation on buses in the South. 

Lewis also co-organized and spoke at the March on Washington, when King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech—he’s the last living speaker from the rally, having been 23 at the time.

Some of Lewis’s supporters on Saturday morning began sharing the hashtag #StandWithLewis in solidarity with the civil rights leader’s comments.

Lewis is not alone in his planned absence of Friday’s inauguration. Six other Democratic leaders have announced their boycott, including Reps. Luis Gutiérrez from Illinois; Katherine Clark from Massachusetts; Barbara Lee, Mark DeSaulnier, and Jared Huffman from California; and Raúl Grijalva from Arizona.

“You cannot be home with something that you feel is wrong,” Lewis said.

Share this article
*First Published: Jan 14, 2017, 4:36 am CST