John Lewis will not be in attendance for the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on Saturday because Donald Trump will be there.
The U.S. representative for Georgia had previously said he was reconsidering attending the opening after the White House announced that Trump would be at the event too, and has now confirmed in a statement he will not be present.
“After careful consideration and conversations with church leaders, elected officials, civil rights activists, and many citizens of our congressional districts, we have decided not to attend or participate in the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum,” Lewis said in a statement. “President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum. The struggles represented in this museum exemplify the truth of what really happened in Mississippi.”
Earlier this year, Lewis questioned the “legitmacy” of Trump as president, saying “I don’t see this President-elect as a legitimate president. I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
Following the comments, Trump took to Twitter to say Lewis’ district was “in horrible shape” and that the civil rights leader was “all talk, talk, talk – no action or results.”
A number of people defended Lewis from Trump, including A Tribe Called Quest‘s Q-Tip.
“@RealDonaldTrump I’ll keep it brief. No matter party line, age, religion, race, etc…There is no time for division,” he tweeted. “We need to be united. Respecting our elders @realDonaldTrump is an ancient, Godly, and worldwide principle.”
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