Rep. John Lewis said he thinks President Donald Trump is racist, following furor over the commander-in-chief’s supposed comment on “shithole” countries.
“I think he is a racist,” said Lewis (D-GA) on Sunday, speaking live on the ABC program “This Week.”
Lewis, writes Politico.com, had been asked by moderator George Stephanopolous how he’d reconcile the president commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Trump’s alleged “shithole” remarks.
“I don’t think there’s any way that you can square what the president said with the words of Martin Luther King Jr. and what he said about Dr. King,” argued Lewis. “It’s just impossible. There’s not any way you can do that. It’s unreal. It’s unbelievable. It makes me sad. It makes me cry.”
“We have come so far. We made so much progress,” said Lewis, who was himself involved in the Civil Rights movement. “And I think this man, this president, is taking us back to another place.”
Lewis, Politico notes, said he won’t attend President Trump’s State of the Union address at the end of the month.
“In good conscience, I cannot and will not sit there and listen at him as he gives the State of the Union address.”
Lewis is but one powerful voice among many.
Even though Trump insists he didn’t call certain countries “shitholes” during a bipartisan meeting on immigration, the rumors have sparked global outrage. The commander-in-chief supposedly said he wanted to see more arrivals from countries like “Norway,” and fewer from “shitholes.”
Trump purportedly called out Haiti by name, saying, “Why do we want people from Haiti here?”, before going on to say that all Haitians have AIDS.
Not surprisingly, the president has defended himself against the accusations.
Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said “take them out.” Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
“Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country,” wrote Trump on Twitter. “Never said ‘take them out.’ Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!”
Despite President Trump’s unusually grammatical defense, several high-ranking politicians who attended the meeting insist that hateful language was, in fact, used by the commander-in-chief during discussions. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) said Trump used “hate-filled” and “racist” language several times during the talks.
“In the course of his comments, [Trump] said things which were hate-filled, vile and racist,” said Durbin, speaking to reporters outside Congress. “You’ve seen the comments in the press. I have not read one of them that’s inaccurate.”
Durbin addressed Trump’s tweeted rebuttal, too.
“To no surprise, the president started tweeting this morning, denying that he used those words,” said Durbin. “It is not true. He said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly.”
The corroborations weren’t limited to Durbin and Democrats, either. Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican and outspoken critic of President Trump, said meeting attendees had directly relayed the remarks to him.
And Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told the press that the comments were “basically accurate.”