John Lewis betrays his own legacy with Trump comments
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When President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOmar, Muslim Democrats decry Islamophobia amid death threats On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Trump cheers CNN's Cuomo suspension MORE was asked whether he would accept the election results, his response was this: “I’ll keep you in suspense.” The response so shook rival Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCountering the ongoing Republican delusion Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future MORE to her core that she proclaimed she was “horrified” and claimed Trump was “talking down our democracy.”

This weekend, however, civil rights icon and Georgia Congressman John Lewis went a step further than then-candidate Trump. In an interview with NBC, Lewis proclaimed:

“I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”


Lewis’ words are the embodiment of Democratic denial and disdain. Hillary was supposed to win this election because, in their eyes, only “deplorables” supported Trump.

How could Americans vote for a man who violated the code of political correctness, refused to be intimidated by the media, and espoused issues — trade, immigration, global warming — that Democrats had declared decided?

To folks like Lewis, the only way Trump could win is if there was foul play. Enter the Russian red herring.

“I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected,” Lewis lamented. “And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”

Make no mistake; it is pretty clear that the Russians had some involvement in the hacking and/or release of the compromising Democratic National Committee emails. Trump himself has said as much.  

But what is not clear is that the Russians “helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.” Instead, the Russians merely made public a batch of emails written by the people who would have a hand in running our nation if Hillary won.

The “Russians” allowed Americans to see the DNC in its true colors. Therefore, if anyone was responsible for destroying the Clinton candidacy, it was the DNC.

This is not to say that the Russians were acting with the purest of motives, but are we able to say that no media outlet would have run with the emails if they had acquired them? The media did not hesitate when the Billy Bush tape leaked.

The retort — It’s not fair Democrats were targeted and Republicans weren’t. While such an argument may play well in grade school, it is not fitting for presidential politics. Moreover, Lewis, after reading how the DNC conspired to throw Bernie from the train, never once proclaimed Hillary’s nomination illegitimate.

Assuming one concedes that this election was unfair (which it was not), does such unfairness equate to illegitimacy? If Lewis is taken at his words, he is arguing that this election was unfair because the American people were able to see the unfiltered thoughts of key Democratic officials.

He is saying that such emails should have remained in the shadows and the American people should have gone to the polls ignorant of those issues. Lewis, however, did not make the same argument about the Billy Bush tape.  

Thus, this whole Russia-emails-legitimacy saga is not about fairness; it is about the consequences of losing.

Americans rejected Lewis’ party, but Lewis does not accept the rejection. Instead, he pulled the nuclear option and called into question the sanctity of the ballot box to prevent a political opponent from doing what he was elected to do. This is both dangerous and dirty.

By proclaiming Trump as illegitimate, Lewis is not just attacking the president-elect; he is attacking all the men and women who voted for him. If Trump’s win is illegitimate, then the ideas Trump espouses and the Americans who supported him are also illegitimate. From this proclamation, it is implied that the Trump movement was not a legitimate part of the political process.  

Lewis, thus, is attempting to disenfranchise the millions of Americans who voted for Trump. He is trying to re-muzzle the silent majority that he disagrees with. He is doing to Trump's Americans what Jim Crow did to him — dehumanization.

When the firehoses were turned on in Selma, it could be argued that those holding the hoses were bigots that did not know any better. But as Lewis tries to exile his political opponents by calling into question the integrity of an election, his legacy holds we cannot say the same about him.

Joseph R. Murray II is administrator for LGBTrump, former campaign official for Pat Buchanan, and author of “Odd Man Out.” He can be reached at

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