President-elect Donald Trump has cancelled his plans to visit the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
This comes on the heels of insulting a civil rights hero, Rep. John Lewis, on Twitter. Lewis had appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and said, “I don’t see this President-elect as a legitimate president.”
“I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected,” Lewis said, “And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
The Trump transition team blamed the cancellation on scheduling conflicts, and said that Trump would be observing MLK day in some other fashion, but did not go into any further detail. His cancellation leaves no doubt in most people’s minds that he is not looking for any goodwill after his feud.
Clips from the segment got under the president-elect’s skin, and he fired off a series of tweets accusing Lewis of being “all talk, talk, talk” and “no action”.
Lawmakers and social media pundits were quick to note that Trump’s comments were particularly insensitive as they were made on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, which is a public holiday in order to honour the brave actions taken by Lewis, King and others in order to fight back against legal racial segregation and the struggle for civil rights.
The 1963 March on Washington was organised by the “Big Six”, of which Lewis was a member, along with King and others. Lewis also introduced the original legislation to found the African American museum in 1988 and pushed it for 15 years before President George W. Bush signed it into law.
On this Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, let it be clear that John Lewis is an American patriot. Trump’s attacks on him further confirm it. pic.twitter.com/WavPT36Atu
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) January 14, 2017
As Democratic congressman, Lewis has served as Chief Deputy Whip since 1991 and Senior Chief Deputy Whip since 2003. Since 1987, Lewis has represented Georgia’s 5th District, a majority African-American district that encompasses almost three-quarters of Atlanta.
The feud continues
Trump went on today that Lewis should spend more time “fixing and helping his district,” which he described as being in “horrible shape” and “crime infested”. Naturally a quick check into the facts shows that Trump is wrong, crime data shows otherwise. In September, Atlanta officials declared a 30 percent drop in crime in the city since 2009.
Lewis said that he will not be attending Trump’s inauguration, which would be the first one he has not attended since 1987. Trump’s comments are sparking backlash from all angles and drawing support from others in congress.
— Yvette D. Clarke (@RepYvetteClarke) January 14, 2017
Vice President-elect Mike Pence told “Fox News Sunday” he hoped Lewis would reconsider – and he also defended Trump’s retaliation. “Donald Trump has the right to defend himself,” Pence said. “For someone of (Lewis’) stature to use terms like, ‘This is not a legitimate president’ — it’s just deeply disappointing.”
Since Trump’s salacious remarks on Lewis’ comments, sales of two of the Georgia lawmakers’ books, “Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement” and “March,” a graphic-novel trilogy about the civil rights movement, have sky-rocketed, spiking by more than 100,000 percent.
Honestly I’d like to congratulate the employees of the National African American Museum at not having to spend MLK day hosting Donald Trump.
— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) January 16, 2017