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Ex-RNC chair responds to Trump’s John Lewis tweets: ‘Don’t go there’

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A former chairman of the Republican National Committee issued a firm rebuke of President-elect Donald Trump’s tweets attacking Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) on Saturday, calling the comments “unnecessary” and warning Trump not to further isolate himself from black voters.

“Number one, don’t tweet that. Number two, don’t go there. And number three, step back and try to appreciate what’s being said and what the concern is,” Michael Steele said during an appearance on MSNBC. “The tweet is unnecessary, it’s unfortunate.”

“John Lewis has a walk that very few people in this country – least of all Donald Trump – have ever walked. So you have to respect that and pay attention to that in a real sense,” he added.

Trump slammed Lewis in a pair of tweets on Saturday morning after he questioned the president-elect’s legitimacy and announced that he would not attend Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

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Numerous lawmakers rushed to Lewis’ defense on Twitter, painting the civil rights icon as a devoted activist and politician.

Steele urged Trump to avoid politicizing Lewis’ comments, and warned the president-elect that by insulting Lewis he would only further isolate himself from black voters.

“If you’re looking to heal and bridge and bring the people of America together, well, we’re part of that,” Steele said.

“As black folks, we’re part of that. So our expectation is not only will you attempt that same effort that you would apply to white folks and other communities, but you will do so in a way that you show respect for our leadership and those who do represent our interests to you on Capitol Hill.”

Steele, who headed the RNC from 2009 to 2011, refused to back Trump during the 2016 presidential race.

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