Vice-President elect Mike Pence defends his boss' recent attack on Civil Rights leader Rep. John Lewis for saying he doesn't believe Trump is a legitimate president.
January 15, 2017

After civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd that he did not believe Donald Trump's presidency was legitimate, the backlash from the Trump team, his supporters and Trump himself were entirely predictable.

And as Steve M. discussed this weekend, one of the more disturbing aspects of the attack by Trump on Twitter was the fact that he basically made the assumption that because Lewis represents a district that's majority African American, that automatically means it's some sort of crime-ridden hell hole, and that the Congressman isn't doing his job representing the voters in his district, because we all know these places exist in some sort of a vacuum that aren't affected whatsoever by national politics or economic policies, right?

Trump's running mate Mike Pence made an appearance on Fox News Sunday this weekend, and when asked about Lewis' remarks about his boss, Pence used it as an excuse to trot out the right wing talking point that "liberal policies" have failed our cities, despite the fact that, as Steve discussed, his district is fairing a lot better than most of the country when it comes to the percent of high school students who have high school diplomas and college degrees.

Transcript via Fox News:

WALLACE: Democratic Congressman John Lewis, one of the icons of the civil rights movements, says that he is not going to attend the inauguration, and he has explained why. Here he is.


REP. JOHN LEWIS, D-GEORGIA: I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president.


WALLACE: What's your reaction to Congressman Lewis?

PENCE: Donald Trump won this election fair and square, thirty of 50 states, more counties than any Republican since Ronald Reagan, and the American people know that. And, while I have great respect for John Lewis, and for his contributions, particularly with the civil rights movement.

I was deeply disappointed to see someone of his stature question the legitimacy of Donald Trump's election as president and say he's not attending the inauguration, and I hope he reconsiders both positions. You know, we'd even had recounts in this election where the numbers for the president-elect had actually gone up. There's no question about the legitimacy of this election, and for John Lewis to make those statements is deeply disappointing.

This is also -- it's disappointing, too, because I truly do believe this is a time when the American people should be celebrating the peaceful transition of power. That's what this week is really all about, Chris, and to know that four living presidents will be on the stage acknowledging that peaceful transition of power, the world will be watching, will hear the first remarks that Donald will make as president of the United States in his inaugural address.

I just -- I hope that John Lewis, and some others who have joined his plans to take a pass on the inauguration, will rethink that, will be with us and will celebrate this extraordinary moment in the life of our nation and the life of democracy.

WALLACE: I like to ask you as well -- you talked about Lewis’ comments about Mr. Trump. But also, I’d also like to ask about Mr. Trump's comments about Mr. Lewis. I want to put up this tweet, because in response, the president-elect called John Lewis "all talk, talk, talk, no action."

Can he really say that about the man who got his head cracked open walking across the Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on Bloody Sunday, "all talk, no action"?

PENCE: Well --

WALLACE: Do you think that's appropriate?

PENCE: I think -- I think Donald Trump has the right to defend himself. When someone of John Lewis' stature, someone who is not only an icon in the civil rights movement, but also someone who by virtue of his sacrifice on that day that we know as Bloody Sunday, he crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge and he suffered that abuse and it was -- it was true that that the voting rights -- for someone to use his stature to use terms like this is not a legitimate president, it’s just -- it's just deeply disappointing to me, and I hope he reconsiders it.

But what Donald Trump was talking about there was literally generations of failed policies coming out of Washington, D.C., that have failed to many families and too many cities across this country. I will tell you, Donald Trump is a man who is profoundly impatient with failure. And you saw in the campaign, he went to major cities in this country and said we are going to bring safety to our streets. We’re going to bring school choice to our children. We’re going to bring jobs and opportunities to our cities.

You remember that great line "what the heck do you have to lose?" He’s committed to being president of all the people in this country and to bring new jobs and prosperity in ways that the failed liberal policies of the last several generations have not.

h/t Think Progress

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