Georgia Congressman Rep. John Lewis won’t be attending the inauguration of President elect Donald Trump on Friday along with a host of other Democrats leaders on Capitol Hill who remain unhappy that Trump ascended to the White House through the Kremlin’s interference in the U.S. democratic process.
Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press that aired on Sunday Rep. Lewis said that he won’t be attending the inauguration of a man the Russians helped to elect after “destroying the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
“I don’t plan to attend the inauguration. It will be the first one that I miss since I’ve been in the Congress. You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong, is not right” Rep. Lewis explained on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Asked by Meet the Press Host Chuck Todd what he would tell young activists to do, Rep. Lewis replied, “when you see something that is not right, not fair, you have a moral obligation to do something.”
Later, Rep. Lewis was questioned what other Democratic leaders such as Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Shumer, and Barack Obama should do.
“We must not be silent. We all must act” said Rep. Lewis who was previously a civil rights activist during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s that helped to end legal segregation.
Rep. Lewis spoke about continuing to “speak up and to speak out.”
Asked if he plans to forge a relationship with Donald Trump, Rep. Lewis said that he doesn’t consider Trump to be a legitimate president.
“You know, I believe in forgiveness. 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” Rep. Lewis said.
The top 3 U.S. intelligence agencies have unanimously concluded in a January 6th declassified report of a highly classified assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an “influence campaign” in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election and with the assistance of the Russian Government “aspired to help President elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.”
The joint intelligence report maintains that Russian activities to undermine the U.S. democratic order took a dramatic turn during the 2016 election and escalated compared to other activities that Moscow sponsored in the past to undermine the U.S. democratic order.
“Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the U.S. liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operation” the joint U.S. intelligence report concluded.
During the 2016 presidential campaign season, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke openly about challenging Russia on the international stage and advocated for enforcing a no fly zone in Syria which contrasted sharply with the pro-Russia views of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump who offered a positive assessment of Russian President Vladimir Putin and spoke about teaming up with the Russian leader to combat ISIS.
President elect Trump told the Wall Street Journal last week that he is open to meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the presidential inauguration.
Trump’s selection for Secretary of State is Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon who has worked closely with Russian President Vladimir Putin as an oil executive and criticized international sanctions against Russia which were imposed following its destabilizing role in Ukraine that resulted in annexing Crimea in 2014.
President elect Donald Trump tweeted negative comments about Georgia Rep. John Lewis in response to his comments on NBC’s Meet the Press that questioned his legitimacy as president.
In a January 14th tweet Trump said that Rep. 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!”
Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2017
mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2017
Calling Rep. Lewis “all talk, talk, talk- no action or results” is out of place for a respected U.S.Congressman who stood up for past Civil right injustices during the 1960’s, walked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and has been applauded for his past advocacy efforts as a Congressman in Georgia.
Al Franken, Democratic Senator from Minnesota said replied in a statement about Trump’s claim that Rep. Lewis is “all talk” and “no action.”
Well Donald, I think you may have caught a bad case of projection. Because the John Lewis I know has been getting results for more than 50 years. Congressman Lewis stood by Martin Luther King Jr.’s side during the Civil Rights Movement and he’s been working tirelessly ever since to right injustice. I know that on Monday I plan to celebrate and honor Dr. King’s legacy -maybe you could do the same instead of dividing people, attacking civil rights heroes, and spreading hate.” – Sen. Al Franken (D- Minn).
Kentucky Democratic Congressman Rep. John Yarmuth also came to the defense of Rep. John Lewis in a tweet:
— Rep. John Yarmuth (@RepJohnYarmuth) January 14, 2017
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said on NBC’s Meet the Press that it’s “irresponsible” and “just wrong” for Rep. John Lewis to have made his comments just five days before Trump is sworn in as president.
Several Democratic Congressional leaders including Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark and California Rep. Barbara Lee won’t be attending Trump’s inauguration.
NBC is reporting that 25 Democratic lawmakers will be skipping Trump’s inauguration on Friday.