Mr. Trump came under severe criticism after a row with the rights icon, John Lewis. Politicians, entertainers and many other joined hands to criticize Trump and come to the defense of U.S. civil rights campaigner and Congressman.
Mr. Trump tweeted that John Lewis was “all talk” and should focus on his constituents. The tweet came after Mr. Lewis said that Trump was not a legitimate president.
Trump’s tweet angered Mr. Lewis’ supporters who came to the rescue and said that he was an icon and a hero.
Mr. Lewis was a leading personality in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. He’s the only speaker still alive who spoke in 1963 march on Washington, led by Martin Luther King.
The exchange occurred after civil rights activists led by Rev Al Sharpton began a week of protests ahead of Trump’s inauguration on January 20. Several thousand protestors marched in near-freezing temperature to the memorial of Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington D.C., intoning “No justice, no peace.”
Broadway star African American Jennifer Holiday also pulled out of performing at the inauguration.
Mr. Lewis, a Democrat, announced on Friday that as he doesn’t see Trump as a legitimate president, he would not attend the inauguration ceremony.
“I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected, and they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
The tweet from Trump came on Saturday in which he lambasted Mr. Lewis:
“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!”
Georgia’s 5th Congressional District
- John Lewis has represented the district since 1987.
- It includes 75% of the city of Atlanta and other affluent suburbs.
- Around 60% of the constituents are African Americans.
- Unemployment and crime rates are higher than the national average.
- The district contains most of the state’s higher education institutions.
- It also includes headquarters of various Fortune 500 companies, including Delta Airlines and Coca Cola.
Mr. Lewis’ supporters were quick to rally around. California Senator Kamala Harris tweeted that it was wrong to treat a Civil Rights Movement icon in this manner.
Others pointed towards Mr. Lewis’ bravery and the fact that the row took place on the eve of Martin Luther King Day, January 16. Many people linked the photo of the two men from the so-called Bloody Sunday march in Alabama in 1965 in which Mr. Lewis got a fractured skull as the protest was broken by police violently.
Mr. Lewis got support from Republicans as well. Republican Senator Ben Sasse tweeted that Mr. Lewis’ “talk” had changed the world.
Although he added that he disagreed with Mr. Lewis about the decision to boycott the inauguration; he reasoned that it was not about one man, but a celebration of the peaceful transfer of power.