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'I Don't Know John Lewis': Trump Withholds Praise

President also brings up the fact that Lewis skipped his inauguration
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2020 7:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump's new interview with Axios on HBO is drawing attention not only for the president's condemnation of mail voting but for his comments on the late John Lewis. On the latter, Trump didn't criticize Lewis exactly, but he chose not to praise the congressman and civil rights leader, who was lying in state at the Capitol when the interview took place. Asked how history would remember Lewis, Trump said, “I really don't know," adding, "I don't know John Lewis. He chose not to come to my inauguration. ... I never met John Lewis, actually, I don’t believe.” When interviewer Jonathan Swan pressed him, asking Trump whether he found Lewis' life to be impressive, Trump again balked.

“I can't say one way or the other," said Trump. "I find a lot of people impressive. I find many people not impressive.” The president again raised the inauguration: “He didn't come to my inauguration. He didn't come to my State of the Union speeches. And that's OK. That's his right. And, again, nobody has done more for Black Americans than I have.” Trump added: “He should have come. I think he made a big mistake.” Axios notes bad blood between the two when Lewis was alive, with the congressman saying in 2017 he did not consider Trump to be a "legitimate" president because he thought Russia got him elected. The Washington Post points out that Trump's reluctance to praise Lewis came as three former presidents, especially Barack Obama, did just that at his funeral. (Read more John Lewis stories.)

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