WASHINGTON President-elect Donald Trump began a long holiday weekend that honors slain black civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. by blasting another African-American activist and politician who said he doesn’t see Trump as a “legitimate president”.
Democratic Representative John Lewis, of Georgia, had said on a segment of “Meet the Press” released by NBC on Friday he thought hacking by Russians had helped Trump, a Republican, get elected in November. Lewis said he does not plan to attend Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration, the first time he’d missed such an event since being elected to the House in 1986.
On Saturday Trump tweeted that Lewis was falsely complaining about election results and instead “should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested).”
“All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!” Trump tweeted.
Lewis, who has been a civil rights leader for more than half a century, was beaten by police during a march he helped lead in 1965 in Selma, Alabama, drawing attention to hurdles for blacks to vote. He protested alongside King that day and on other occasions.
“I believe in forgiveness,” Lewis said in the segment about Trump. “I believe in trying to work with people,” Lewis said. “It’s going to be very difficult. I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”
Supporters of Trump see him as a brash person who tells things as they are. His comments about Lewis came ahead of an anti-Trump march in Washington headed by the Rev. Al Sharpton. The protest by about 2,000 marchers kicked off a week of rallies planned by dozens of groups against Trump before, during and after the inauguration.
DisruptJ20, which is working with Black Lives Matter and other protest groups, said they are planning to disrupt balls celebrating the inauguration in Washington.
Trump won the presidency with less support from black and Hispanic voters than any president in the last 40 years, only 8 percent and 28 percent respectively, polling data has showed.
Several of Trump’s fellow Republicans criticized his tweet.
Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska tweeted that “John Lewis and his ‘talk’ have changed the world.”
Neoconservative critic Bill Kristol tweeted “It’s telling, I’m afraid, that Donald Trump treats (Russian President) Vladimir Putin with more respect than he does John Lewis.”
(Additional reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by James Dalgleish)