Trump continues railing against John Lewis

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Caitlin Dickson
·Reporter
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Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (Photo: Cliff Owen/AP)
Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., testifies on Capitol Hill on Jan. 11. (Photo: Cliff Owen/AP)

Donald Trump’s feud with Rep. John Lewis entered its fourth day Tuesday when the president-elect fired off still more tweets ripping Rep. John Lewis for skipping his inauguration.

Lewis said last Friday that Trump’s inauguration was the first one he would miss since being elected to Congress in the 1980s. But Trump disputed that claim, pointing to Lewis’ absence from George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2001.

“John Lewis said about my inauguration, ‘It will be the first one that I’ve missed.’ WRONG (or lie)!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “He boycotted Bush 43 also because he… thought it would be hypocritical to attend Bush’s swearing-in….he doesn’t believe Bush is the true elected president.’ Sound familiar! WP”

By “WP,” the president-elect was apparently referring to the Washington Post, which reported on Jan. 21, 2001, that Lewis was among a group of Congressional Black Caucus members who’d decided to boycott the first inauguration of George W. Bush, who entered office after a contentious Supreme Court decision over the Florida recount.

According to the Post: “John Lewis, for instance, spent the day in his Atlanta district. He thought it would be hypocritical to attend Bush’s swearing-in because he doesn’t believe Bush is the true elected president.”

Lewis has been the subject of Trump’s ire since a Friday “Meet the Press” interview, in which Lewis also said he does not consider Trump to be a “legitimate president.” That sparked a Saturday morning Twitter storm that carried on into that evening.

But Trump’s attacks on Lewis, a civil rights icon — on a holiday weekend commemorating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. — did not go over well with Lewis’ Democratic colleagues in Congress. Within days, the small group of Democratic lawmakers who’d planned to boycott the inauguration had ballooned to more than 40, with many of them citing Trump’s comments about Lewis as the deciding factor.

In an apparent attempt to ease tensions caused by his clash with Lewis, Trump met with Martin Luther King III in New York on Monday to discuss voting rights.

A spokesperson for Lewis did not respond to an immediate request for comment about the latest Trump social media barbs. However, a Lewis representative confirmed to CBS News that the Georgia lawmaker had also skipped the Bush inauguration.

“His absence at that time was also a form of dissent,” Lewis’ communications director, Brenda Jones, told CBS. “He did not believe the outcome of the election, including the controversies around the results in Florida, and the unprecedented intervention of the U.S. Supreme Court, reflected a free, fair and open democratic process.”

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