President-elect Donald Trump and Rep. John Lewis are embroiled in a heated exchange of words that is awkwardly playing out over the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.
What started the feud?
On Friday, Lewis made an appearance on Meet The Press. He spoke about forgiveness and forging relationships. Lewis then told host Chuck Todd that he didn't see Trump as a "legitimate president." He also revealed that this inauguration would be the first he'll miss in three decades.
"It will be the first one that I miss since I've been in Congress," he said. "You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong, is not right."
On Saturday, the President-elect responded on Twitter. “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. Sad,” Trump wrote.
He continued several hours later, adding, "Congressman John Lewis should finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner-cities of the U.S. I can use all the help I can get!"
Kentucky Representative John Yarmuth summarized it best.
Lewis has reportedly been arrested more than 40 times. Since Lewis has been in Congress, he's been arrested five more times, as discussed on The Daily Show last year. For five decades, Lewis has fought to undo and rewrite the laws that signal out Black voters, as well as for other marginalized communities. After Trump's comments his graphic novel — based on the civil rights movement — shot to the top of the Amazon charts.
Are Trump's allegations accurate?Trump's comments about Atlanta's fifth district, describing it as "crime infested" and the area being in "horrible shape," are false. As the New York Times points out, Lewis’s district "includes parts of wealthy areas like Buckhead; the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and the Georgia Institute of Technology." Atlantans overwhelmed Twitter and other social platforms with the hashtag #defendthe5th and#fifthdistrict, according to AJC. Locals flooded the hashtag with peaceful photos of their neighborhoods and made heartfelt quips about their side of town.
Is anyone else slated to miss the inauguration?
Lewis isn't the only representative who's publicly vowed not to attend the election day ceremony. "I'm just not a big Trump fan. I've met the guy and never been impressed with him," Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader told Oregon Public Broadcasting Friday. "I'll do my best to work with him when I think he's doing the right thing for the country. But he hasn't proved himself to me at all yet, so I respectfully decline to freeze my ass out there in the cold for this particular ceremony." And yesterday, New York congresswoman also Yvette Clarke opted to stand with Lewis, by not supporting the inauguration.
According to CNN, the representatives below have also decided to sit this one out as of press time. California Rep. Mark Takano, New York Rep. Yvette Clarke, California Rep. Ted Lieu, Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, Michigan Rep. John Conyers, California Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, New York Rep. Nydia Velazquez, Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, Missouri Rep. William Lacy Clay, California Rep. Barbara Lee, New York Rep. Jose Serrano, California Rep. Judy Chu, Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, California Rep. Jared Huffman, Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark, Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, New York Rep. Adriano Espaillat, Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan, Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, California Rep. Maxine Waters.