President-elect Donald Trump, who can withstand no public criticism without throwing a Twitter fit, on Saturday accused one of the country’s most prominent civil rights leaders of being lazy.
In a 44-word series of tweets, Trump blasted Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and his “crime infested” district in Georgia, which includes parts of Atlanta.
Lewis, 76, who was born in Alabama and marched in 1965 from Selma to Montgomery to help usher in the Voting Rights Act, delivered this week an impassioned 760-word testimony against the confirmation of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as US Attorney General.
It was the type of speech only someone who lived through segregation in the deep south, stood up to the violence of institutional racism, and spent a lifetime fighting for the civil rights of African-Americans could deliver.
Later, Lewis told NBC News' Meet the Press he won’t be attending Trump’s inauguration next week and said he does not believe Trump is a “legitimate president.”
“I don't plan to attend the inauguration. It will be the first one that I miss since I’ve been in Congress. You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong, is not right,” Lewis said.
Trump took offense to Lewis’ criticism, responding with a message that essentially overlooks the congressman’s lifetime of service to the country and particularly its people of color.
Lewis, born in 1940 to sharecroppers and who by the age of 23 was referred to as one of the “Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement,” now represents Georgia’s mostly African-American 5th District, where more than 87 percent of adults are high school graduates.
At least a dozen Democrats, including Lewis, have said they will boycott Trump’s inauguration next Friday.