14 Hours Later, Trump Responds

The president and Rep. John Lewis didn't exactly get along
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 18, 2020 4:30 PM CDT
14 Hours Later, Trump Responds
President Donald Trump plays golf at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., as seen from the other side of the Potomac River in Darnestown, Md., Saturday, July 18, 2020.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

In the hours after the death of American civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, President Trump took to Twitter to retweet old missives about Democratic rival Joe Biden and lash out at his former national security adviser and his niece for writing tell-all books about him. Trump then headed to his golf course in northern Virginia with a political confidante, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, for a nearly four-hour outing. Shortly after 2pm, as Trump was returning from his golf outing—and more than 14 hours after Lewis' death was announced—he offered his and the first lady’s condolences in a two-sentence Twitter message. "Saddened to hear the news of civil rights hero John Lewis passing. Melania and I send our prayers to he and his family," Trump wrote.

By that point all four living former US presidents, Vice President Mike Pence, and scores of lawmakers had publicly remarked on the passing of the lawmaker whose brutal beating on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, 50 years earlier marked a turning point in the civil rights movement. Trump had battled publicly with Lewis, 80, the youngest and last living member of the Big Six civil rights activists who organized the 1963 March on Washington. Lewis, D-Ga., memorably tangled with Trump days before the president’s inauguration in 2017. The congressman said he did not see Trump as a "legitimate president,” prompting Trump to blast Lewis as "all talk" and denigrate his majority Black district as "crime infested" and "falling apart." (See how others responded to Lewis' death.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.