President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter to bite back at the iconic Civil Rights leader refusing to attend the inauguration, calling the long-serving congressman “sad” and “all talk” on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend.
“Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results,” he tweeted just after 8 a.m. Saturday.
“All talk, talk, talk — no action or results. Sad!” he added.
Lewis — a Democrat from Georgia who was brutally beaten during Civil Rights marches in the 1960s — announced Friday that he will not attend Friday inauguration, and said he doesn’t believe Trump is a genuine leader.
“I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” he said on “Meet the Press,” citing allegations that Russian operatives hacked the election to favor Trump.
Lewis has represented Georgia’s 5th congressional district for three decades. The district, which includes most of Atlanta and some of its suburbs, is about 60% black, according to 2015 American Community Survey data.
He was first elected in 1986, and most recently lead a sit-in on the House floor, in which Democrats demanded a vote on gun-safety legislation following June mass shooting at an Orlando night club.
In the 1960s, Lewis worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. and other prominent Civil Rights activists. He helped organize the 1963 March on Washington. In 1965, he was severely beaten by Alabama State Troopers during the “Bloody Sunday” Selma to Montgomery marches.
Several of Lewis’ lawmaking colleagues quickly defended the Civil Rights icon.
“John Lewis and his ‘talk’ have changed the world,” Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, tweeted.
“.@repjohnlewis is a hero and I’m lucky to call him a colleague. You sir are not half the man he is,” Rep. Brendan Boyle, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, added.
Evan McMullin, who ran as an independent candidate for president in 2016, tweeted mugshots of a young Lewis from his multiple arrests as a Civil Rights protestor.
“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,” he wrote. “While you avoided the draft, John Lewis risked his life for equality in America. You’ll never even dream of such selfless patriotism, Donald.”