Lawmakers took to social media on Saturday to defend Rep. John Lewis's (D-Ga.) legacy after President-elect Donald Trump launched an early-morning Twitter attack on the civil rights leader.
Pushing back against Trump’s criticism that Lewis is “all talk” and “no action or results,” Democrats and one Republican recalled Lewis’s role in the civil rights movement and painted him as a tooth-and-nail defender of justice.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) criticized Trump’s efforts “to silence” Lewis.
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.) joined Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Kamala Harris (Calif.) in lauding Lewis.
Sasse said Lewis's "talk" changed the world, while Wyden called him an "American hero" and Harris said he "deserves better than this.
Trump’s attacks on Lewis came a day after Lewis said that Trump wasn’t a “legitimate president."
"I believe in forgiveness,” Lewis told NBC News. “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.”
Lewis is widely seen as an icon among Democrats, and some lawmakers saw Trump’s comments as a direct attack on his legacy as a civil rights activist and as a politician.
Lewis was a key civil rights leader in the 1960s as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He was frequently arrested and beaten by police officers at protests, including “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Ala., in 1965.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a top contender to head the Democratic National Committee, blasted Trump, saying the real estate mogul “has no clue” about sacrifice.
Other House Democrats called Lewis a "hero" and "icon," with one calling Trump's reaction "repulsive" and another saying the president-elect isn't fit to polish Lewis's boots.
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