It’s Up To Trump To Win Over Civil Rights Hero Rep. John Lewis

Georgia Democatic Rep. John Lewis, a longtime stalwart of the civil rights movement, told NBC News Meet The Press he considered soon-to-be President Donald Trump to be illegitimate.

Asked whether he would try to forge a relationship with the president-elect, Lewis said that he believes in forgiveness, but added, “it’s going to be very difficult. I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”

When pressed to explain why, he cited allegations of Russian hacks during the campaign that led to the release of internal documents from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign co-chairman, John Podesta.

“I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton,” Lewis told NBC News.

Never one to leave the slightest criticism unanswered, Trump tweeted.

That’s a good way to frame the conversation on the weekend we observe Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. It’s not a good way to earn the respect of the civil rights movement, as you would see if you looked at the thread of responses to those tweets.

Lewis has the right to his opinion, earned in the crucible of Selma and other places where his life and liberty were in real danger. I do not agree with those who say Lewis is a “minor player” like Dinesh D’Souza tweeted.

It’s up to Trump to win over Lewis, like he did with a serious and even caring demeanor with others such as Dr. Ben Carson and comedian Steve Harvey.

Based on the vitriol spilled during the campaign, the racial divisions in this country which festered and deepened under President Obama, and Trump’s own denials of Russia’s influence, Lewis has every right to feel the way he does. He won’t be attending the inauguration, he said.

Trump has a way of making his personal meetings very effective at drawing opponents to him. With charlatans who live off racial division like Al Sharpton, I wouldn’t expect any results, but Lewis is at least a member of Congress.

I disagree with Lewis on practically everything. He regularly weaponizes race for political purposes. His views on gun control are of the extreme variety. He is more aligned with Israel’s enemies than our ally in the Middle East (so is Obama, though). But I do not deny Lewis is a genuine hero of the civil rights movement.

Those who take that position to defend Trump are really pushing an “alt-right” position which Trump himself does not appear to have taken. If Lewis, as he said, really believes in forgiveness, then I think there’s a good chance for him to sit with Trump and walk away impressed. But it’s up to Trump to make the first move toward that reconciliation. After Jan. 20th, we will see.

About the author

Steve Berman

The old Steve cared about money, prestige, and power. Then Christ found me. All at once things changed. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I spent 30 years in business. Now I write and edit. But mostly I love. I have a wife and 2 kids and a dog and we live in a little house in central Georgia.

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