Donald Trump faced a national outcry and plans by at least 42 members of Congress to boycott his inauguration, after he used the Martin Luther King holiday weekend to attack civil rights icon John Lewis. On Friday, Democratic Congressmember Lewis questioned the legitimacy of Trump’s election while speaking to NBC News’s Chuck Todd.
Rep. John Lewis: “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”
Chuck Todd: “You do not consider him a legitimate president?”
Rep. John Lewis: “No.”
Chuck Todd: “Why is that?”
Rep. John Lewis: “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected, and they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I don’t plan to attend the inauguration. It will be the first one that I miss since I’ve been in the Congress. You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong.”
On Saturday, Donald Trump hit back at Lewis on Twitter, calling his Georgia district “crime infested” and calling Rep. Lewis “All talk, talk, talk–no action.” Trump’s attacks sparked a torrent of criticism, with dozens of lawmakers denouncing Trump for attacking a living civil rights legend—especially on the weekend before the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday. In 1965, Lewis was nearly beaten to death marching for civil rights in Selma, Alabama. As of Tuesday morning, 42 Democratic representatives had pledged to boycott Friday’s inauguration. Among them was Congressmember Yvette Clarke of New York.
Rep. Yvette Clarke: “I looked at the Cabinet selections of the incoming president. I thought it was important that I not lend credibility, if you will, to a process that would marginalize and in many ways harm the people that I represent. So I will not be attending the inauguration of Donald Trump.”
The Washington Post reports Trump will take the oath of office Friday as the least popular incoming president in at least four decades, with more than half of all Americans viewing him unfavorably.