Lawmakers condemn Trump for attack on John Lewis

Lawmakers condemn Trump for attack on John Lewis
© Moriah Ratner

Lawmakers took to social media on Saturday to defend Rep. John Lewis's (D-Ga.) legacy after President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump stands to win big on tax reform, but a trade war with Canada could change everything Tillerson on North Korea: 'Our goal is not regime change' WATCH LIVE: Trump speaks at NRA forum MORE launched an early-morning Twitter attack on the civil rights leader.

 

Pushing back against Trump’s criticism that Lewis is “all talk” and “no action or results,” Democrats and one Republican recalled Lewis’s role in the civil rights movement and painted him as a tooth-and-nail defender of justice.

 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) criticized Trump’s efforts “to silence” Lewis, while House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) defended Lewis and the House Democrats' official Twitter account pledged to stand with Lewis.

 

 

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.) joined a number of Democratic senators in lauding Lewis.

 

Sasse said Lewis's "talk" changed the world, while other Democrats called him a hero" and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said he "deserves better than this." 

 

 

Trump’s attacks on Lewis came a day after Lewis said that Trump wasn’t a “legitimate president."

 

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"I believe in forgiveness,” Lewis told NBC News. “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 is widely seen as an icon among Democrats, and some lawmakers saw Trump’s comments as a direct attack on his legacy as a civil rights activist and as a politician.

 

Lewis was a key civil rights leader in the 1960s as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He was frequently arrested and beaten by police officers at protests, including “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Ala., in 1965.

 

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a top contender to head the Democratic National Committee, blasted Trump, saying the real estate mogul “has no clue” about sacrifice.

 

Other House Democrats called Lewis a "hero" and "icon," with one calling Trump's reaction "repulsive" and another saying the president-elect isn't fit to polish Lewis's boots.

 

- Updated at 12:45 p.m.