Rep. John Lewis, who boycotted President Donald Trump’s inauguration last year, said Martin Luther King Jr. “would have taken the same position I did.”
Lewis, one of the last surviving leaders of the U.S. civil rights movement, was among the original 13 Freedom Riders and was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a major organization of the movement in the 1960s.
Lewis has served as the U.S. representative for Georgia’s 5th district since 1987.
He told “The View” today that he originally decided not to attend Trump’s inauguration a year ago because he “never felt that his election was legitimate.” He also has not met with the president and does not plan to.
“I couldn’t be at home with myself if I had to participate or be part of [Trump’s inauguration],” Lewis said. “The movement told us to withdraw from evil.”
Lewis also said on “This Week” on Sunday that he will not attend Trump’s first State of the Union later this month, saying that “in good conscience” he “cannot sit there and listen to him.”
Trump attacked Lewis on Twitter two days before the inauguration last year in response to Lewis’ claim that Trump was not a “legitimate” president because of alleged Russian interference in the election.
Lewis said today that he disagreed with a contention by King’s daughter, Bernice King, that her father would have met with President Trump.
Bernice King said on WSB radio in early 2017: “Unlike some people, my father would try to meet with President-elect Trump because he recognizes that in order to move the agenda of justice, freedom, and equality forward, you can’t just protest and resist. You also have to negotiate as well.”
Lewis said, “I knew her father very, very well. Meeting him, working with him, and getting to know him — I think he would have taken the same position that I did.”
He added that he believes Trump wouldn’t have been elected had Martin Luther King Jr. still been alive: “Dr. King would have been able to lead us to a different place and our country would have been different and the world community would have been different.”