Trump attacks Civil Rights hero Lewis as ‘all talk’ after he questions his legitimacy

Donald Trump lashed out at civil rights hero John Lewis on Twitter Saturday morning, a day after the Georgia Democratic congressman said in an interview he didn’t view the president-elect as “legitimate” amid questions of Russia’s interference in the U.S. elections.

Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to……

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2017

mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!

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— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2017

While Trump has a well-known tendency to take to social media to push back against any slight against him, such a strongly-worded rebuke of Lewis and the criticism of his majority-black district was jarring on the holiday weekend celebrating the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Lewis was one of the original Freedom Riders and a top lieutenant of King’s, helping organize the March on Washington in 1963 and marching with King across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in 1965, where his skull was fractured.

Lewis said during an NBC interview on Friday that he didn’t view Trump as a “legitimate president” after reports that Russia had worked to influence the election in Trump’s favor and to discredit Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. Trump has largely dismissed those reports and questioned the validity of U.S. intelligence findings, frequently praising Russia and its president Vladimir Putin throughout the campaign and the election.

Lewis also said he wouldn’t be attending Trump’s inauguration on Friday, making it the first he’s missed since he was elected to Congress in 1986. “”You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong, is not right,” Lewis told “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd.

Nebraska GOP Sen. Ben Sasse, a frequent critic of Trump during the campaign, defended Lewis on Twitter. On Friday, he’d tweeted a message to Lewis asking him to reconsider attending the inauguration.

John Lewis and his “talk” have changed the world.

— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) January 14, 2017

Trump also claimed that Lewis’s Atlanta-based district was “in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested).” As the Atlanta Journal Constitution notes, the district is about 58 percent black, 33 percent white and has a growing Hispanic population. It includes the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the headquarters of Coca Cola and Delta Air Lines. It also includes several top colleges such as the historically black Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University, along with Emory University and Georgia Tech.

And while the district does have an 8.2 percent unemployment rater, higher than the national average of just below 5 percent, more than 40 percent in the district have a bachelor’s degree or higher, higher than the national average.

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