Donald Trump kicked off Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend by criticizing civil-rights icon and John Lewis and accusing him of “all talk ” and “no action or results.”
In a Twitter rant on Saturday, the President-elect said that the Georgia congressman should spent more time trying to fix his “horrible,” “crime-infested” district rather than “falsely complaining” about results of the 2016 presidential election.
Lewis, a Democratic representative and former “freedom rider,” has a long history of political action. As chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s, he marched with Dr. King during the peaceful 1965 voting rights protest on Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama —where he was beaten by a state trooper who fractured his skull, as depicted in the 2014 Oscar-nominated film Selma.
In an interview with NBC News that will be broadcast in its entirety on Sunday, Lewis said that he would not be attending the Jan. 20 inauguration — the first he will have missed in three decades — because he did not believe Trump’s victory was legitimate.
“I don’t see this President-elect as a legitimate president,” Lewis, 76, said. “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
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Trump’s response was typical for the New York businessman, who has often used social media to bite back at his critics.
“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,” Trump, 70, wrote in a series of tweets.
“All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!” he added.
His response caused an outrage on Twitter across the aisle — with both conservatives and liberals stepping in to defend Lewis’ legacy.
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) January 14, 2017
John Lewis was arrested 45 times, while Donald Trump dodged the draft.
All talk, no action. pic.twitter.com/vNwUDa4Ria
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) January 14, 2017
While you avoided the draft, John Lewis risked his life for equality in America. You'll never even dream of such selfless patriotism, Donald https://t.co/gTWwfzkwkH
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) January 14, 2017
Trump saying John Lewis is "all talk" would be like Jay Cutler saying Tom Brady is "all talk". Don't think this is the battle trump wants.
— Matthew Dowd (@matthewjdowd) January 14, 2017
John Lewis did more to make America great in one day on the Edmund Pettus Bridge than Donald Trump ever will. pic.twitter.com/C0o3HQV5xp
— howard wolfson (@howiewolf) January 14, 2017
Donald Trump says John Lewis is all talk.
Here's a picture of John Lewis being beaten by a state trooper on "Bloo… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…—
Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) January 14, 2017
Did you just come for John Lewis right before the day we celebrate the great Reverand Doctor King? Wow. Wowwwwwww. https://t.co/2FCw0hMFm4
— Blackity Black❤️ (@FeministaJones) January 14, 2017
— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) January 14, 2017
— Rob (@RobCabrera) January 14, 2017
— Yvette D. Clarke (@RepYvetteClarke) January 14, 2017
It's telling, I'm afraid, that Donald Trump treats Vladimir Putin with more respect than he does John Lewis.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) January 14, 2017
Lewis campaigned vigorously for Clinton during the 2016 election. He has represented Georgia’s 5th District since 1987, which includes much of Atlanta and its surrounding areas.
He told NBC News that he’s going to have a hard time working with Trump’s administration.
“I believe in forgiveness,” he said. “I believe in trying to work with people. It will be hard. It’s going to be very difficult.”