Donald Trump refused to acknowledge the late Rep. John Lewis’ political legacy during a new interview with Axios, which also covered updates surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic.
“I really don’t know [how John Lewis will be remembered],” Trump answered reporter Jonathan Swan. “I really didn’t know John Lewis. He chose not to come to my inauguration. I never met John Lewis, actually.”
When Swan asked, “Do you find [Lewis] impressive?” Trump responded, “I can’t say one way or the other. I find a lot of people impressive. I find many people non-impressive.”
“He didn’t come to my inauguration. He didn’t come to my State of the Union speeches,” Trump continued. “That’s ok, that’s his right. And, again, nobody has done more for Black Americans than I have. He should’ve come — I think he made a big mistake.”
Swan then directly asked if Trump found Lewis’ legacy impressive, regardless of their personal relationship.
“He was a person that devoted a lot of energy and a lot of heart to civil rights, but there were many others who did, too,” Trump responded.
Lewis was a key organizer of the 1963 March on Washington and went on to be awarded several prestigious honors for his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He also led the first of three Selma to Montgomery marches across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to protest segregationist voter suppression, where he was brutally beaten by a police officer.
A petition was launched after his death to rename the bridge after Lewis, which Trump said he “would have no objection” to.
Many — including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms — found Trump’s comments about the late Congressman extremely disrespectful.
“He’s a narcissist and he is delusional. The only person that believes that is him,” Bottoms told CNN Tuesday (Aug. 4), adding that she was “disgusted” by Trump’s words. “He’s done nothing for African Americans in this country and to speak that in the same sentence as speaking of John Lewis is almost blasphemous.”
See a clip from Trump’s interview below.