CNN political director: President's comments on Lewis 'so shameful' but 'also classic Donald Trump'

CNN political director David Chalian on Tuesday called President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE's recent interview with Axios "so shameful" but "also classic Donald Trump," specifically pointing to his "astonishing" comments on the late Rep. John LewisJohn LewisLWCF modernization: Restoring the promise Rep. Cedric Richmond set to join House Ways and Means Committee GOP ramps up attacks on Democrats over talk of nixing filibuster MORE (D-Ga.). 

Trump told Axios's Jonathan Swan in an interview released late Monday that Lewis, the youngest speaker at the March on Washington in 1963 and one of the original Freedom Riders, “made a big mistake” by refusing to attend his 2017 inauguration and subsequent State of the Union addresses because “nobody has done more for Black Americans than I have." 

Asked in the interview, recorded last week, how history will remember Lewis, Trump responded that he didn’t know.


"It’s so shameful, but it is also classic Donald Trump. It’s a level of narcissism. I mean, it’s just all about him. Let’s be clear, Donald Trump may not know how John Lewis is going to be remembered, but I think the rest of us do," Chalian said on CNN's “New Day.” "He’s going to be remembered as a civil rights icon in this country, as Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Don't expect a government check anytime soon Trump appointees stymie recommendations to boost minority voting: report Obama's first presidential memoir, 'A Promised Land,' set for November release MORE in his eulogy called him, sort of a future founding father of the new America, of improved America, when it comes to a lot of these issues." 

"And so, it is just astounding still to watch, as much as we understand that Donald Trump is all about Donald Trump. At that very moment, as he’s laying in state up in the Capitol, to make it all about him, 'And he didn’t come to my inauguration' — it is exactly what we know Donald Trump to be," Chalian added. 

Lewis, the first Black lawmaker in the nation’s history to lie in state at the Capitol, died on July 17 after announcing a stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis in January. 

When pressed by Swan on if he viewed Lewis’s life story and work as impressive, Trump replied that Lewis "was a person that devoted a lot of energy and a lot of heart to civil rights, but there were many others also.”

“I find a lot of people impressive. I find many people not impressive,” he said.

The president has often touted record-low unemployment numbers for Black Americans as a mark of his contribution to the community. The numbers across the all races skyrocketed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, including a June jobs report showing a 15.4 percent unemployment rate for African Americans, a slight drop from 16.7 percent in April.