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Trump's Attack on Congressman John Lewis

By       Message James Wall       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink

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President-elect Donald Trump posted several insensitive and ill-informed tweets against Congressman John L. Lewis on the Saturday before Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday.

The tweets displayed an ignorance of the facts about both Lewis's history of public service, and of the 5th congressional Georgia district Lewis has served since 1987.

They also displayed an indifference to a time when the nation pauses to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Instead, our next president acted with a naughty child's petulance over a congressman's questioning of his election victory.

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If Trump's staff and family allow him to keep his personal Twitter account, we can only assume our next president will display that same unfettered ignorance and insensitivity, for four years, through January 20, 2021.

What led to Trump's attacks on Lewis? Marlee Kokotovic reports on the site Nation of Change that in a television interview, Congressman Lewis said, "I think there was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians and others to help him get elected. That's not right. That's not fair. That's not the open democratic process."

Lewis added that he would not attend the Friday inauguration.

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As of Sunday night, members of Congress who have stated they would also not attend Trump's inauguration are Representative John Conyers, Jr., of Michigan, Representatives Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona; Maxine Waters of California; Luis V. Gutie'rrez of Illinois; Katherine M. Clark of Massachusetts; William Lacy Clay of Missouri; Nydia M. Vela'zquez, Jerrold Nadler and Jose' E. Serrano of New York; Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio; Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader of Oregon; and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin.

Donald Trump could have responded to Lewis's interview by noting that Trump's election is legitimate because the Electoral College counted the votes of each state and declared it to be so.

Instead, Trump displayed both his immaturity and his inability to grasp just how inappropriate his attacks on Lewis were, by attacking Lewis on the weekend prior to King's birthday.

I know from personal experience how a temporary lack of maturity can expose anyone. As a young pastor in Georgia, I joined friends and family of a parishioner gathered in a living room. I engaged in a few words of banal social chit chat with the lady of the house.

Another church member finally turned to me and said, "You know why we are here, Reverend, her husband has just died." Of course I knew it.

I mumbled a few words of condolence and sneaked away, permanently scarred with the dark memory of a moment when I failed to be present to others.

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Donald Trump, in a far more significant moment, was not present for the nation he will soon lead. He attacked a civil rights icon on this King weekend.

We have seen no sign that he is even aware of the immaturity of those tweets. The only sign is a negative one; he canceled a Monday appearance at an African-American museum.

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James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)

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