Trump Blows Off John Lewis’ Civil Rights Legacy: ‘There Were Many Others Also’

President Donald Trump looks on during a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in the Rose Garden of the White House on June 24, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
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August 4, 2020 10:23 a.m.

Trump refused to say whether a widely lauded civil rights hero, the late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who was repeatedly jailed and beaten bloody during his fight for racial equality before becoming a Georgia congressman, was impressive.

“I can’t say one way or the other,” Trump told Axios’ Jonathan Swan in an interview that aired in full Monday night, when asked whether he found the congressman’s achievements impressive. “He didn’t come to my inauguration,” Trump said. 

Lewis was a prominent critic of Trump from the day he took office, announcing that he would skip Trump’s inauguration — a move that inspired a boycott by many others. In interviews, Lewis  also referred to Trump “a racist” and an illegitimate president, citing concerns over foreign interference in the 2016 election results. 

Unable to see past an almost four-year-old slight, President Trump, who did not attend any portion of the late congressman’s six-day funeral, insisted in the interview Monday that the late congressman made a “big mistake” by not attending his inauguration. He repeated this fact, pointedly, in any discussions during the interview about the congressman’s contribution to advancing civil rights in America.

The President had also previously shunned Lewis by delaying public condolences by tweeting on a variety subjects before finally saying in the late afternoon following Lewis death that he was “saddened” by the news.

Trump has often referred to himself as second to none in his accomplishments as President and in his advancement of Black people.

He took those claims a step further on Monday by saying not only no sitting President, but “nobody” has done “more for the Black Americans than I have.”

Trump challenged Swan’s line of questioning about Lewis’ achievements, blowing Lewis off as not very remarkable. “There were many others also” who were dedicated in their fight for civil rights, Trump said.

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