Responding to President Donald Trump’s reported “s—hole countries” comment in an Oval Office meeting on immigration, Democratic Rep. John Lewis, a leader in the civil rights movement who marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said he thinks the president “is a racist.”
“George, I don’t think there’s any way that you can square what the president said with the words of Martin Luther King Jr.,” the Georgia congressman told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” Sunday. “It’s just impossible … It’s unbelievable. It makes me sad. It makes me cry.”
Stephanopoulos asked, “Do you think President Trump is a racist?”
“I think he is a racist,” Lewis responded.
He added, “We have to stand up. We have to speak up, and not try to sweep it under the rug.”
“As a nation and as a people, we have come so far. We have made so much progress,” the Georgia congressman said. He spoke of visiting schools in his state, saying of the students, “They’re black. They’re white. They’re Latino. They’re Asian-American. They’re Native American. And they look like the dream and act like the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”
Trump, Lewis said, “is taking us back to another place.”
Asked by Stephanopoulos about a Democratic plan to “try to bring forward a motion to censure the president” this week for his comments, Lewis said he thinks Democrats should. “[W]hen that resolution comes up, I will be one of the people to speak up and speak out,” he said.
Lewis said he will not be attending Trump’s first State of the Union address, scheduled for Jan. 30, saying “in good conscience,” he “cannot sit there and listen to him.”
Noting it’s the Sunday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Stephanopoulos asked Lewis, “What do you believe that Martin Luther King would be preaching this Sunday if he were still alive?”
“If Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were still alive, he would be speaking the idea that we’re one people. We’re one family. We all live in the same house, not just American house, or the world house, that we must learn to live together as brothers and sisters,” Lewis said. “If not, we will perish as fools.”