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Trump says he is 'saddened' to hear about the passing of John Lewis

President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to move ahead with billion UAE weapons sale approved by Trump Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report MORE said he is “saddened” to hear of the death of Rep. John LewisJohn LewisDemocrats face mounting hurdles to agenda Democrats see opportunity as states push new voting rules Lobbying world MORE (D-Ga.), a civil rights icon who at times clashed with the president. 

“Saddened to hear the news of civil rights hero John Lewis passing. Melania and I send our prayers to he and his family,” Trump tweeted Saturday in his first public remarks recognizing Lewis’s death, which was announced late Friday night.

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The White House earlier Saturday issued a proclamation ordering flags to be flown at half-staff.

Trump caught flak Saturday morning for not issuing a statement regarding Lewis’s death given how revered the Georgia lawmaker was on both sides of the aisle.

“It’s despicable that Trump and the White House have yet to make a statement on the passing of American hero, Rep. John Lewis,” The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump Republican group, tweeted.

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Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi says she would have put up a fight against Capitol mob: 'I'm a street fighter' Biden to address Congress on April 28 NY House Democrats demand repeal of SALT cap MORE (D-Calif.) called Lewis “a titan of the civil rights movement whose goodness, faith and bravery transformed our nation” and a legislator who was “fearless in his pursuit of a more perfect union,” while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell seeks to end feud with Trump Senate GOP signal they won't filibuster debate of hate crimes bill Colin Powell on Afghanistan: 'We've done all we can do' MORE (R-Ky.) lauded him as a “pioneering civil rights leader who put his life on the line to fight racism, promote equal rights, and bring our nation into greater alignment with its founding principles.” 

Trump and Lewis feuded since Trump took office, with Lewis accusing the president of not being a “legitimate president” and Trump disparaging Lewis's district in ways that critics said was racist.

“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 tweeted in January 2017.

Lewis also drew Trump’s ire when he, along with dozens of other Democrats, declined to attend his inauguration.

Lewis cemented his place in history with a lengthy career advocating for civil rights, from being beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., on “Bloody Sunday” to serving 17 terms representing an Atlanta-area district in Congress.