Donald Trump’s bullying tweets aimed at civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis are appalling. The candidate who said that African Americans should vote for him because their lives were so bad that they “had nothing to lose” now perpetuates further racist stereotypes by falsely asserting that Rep. Lewis’ Atlanta district is “in horrible shape,” “falling apart,” and “crime-infested.” In fact, the 5th Congressional District includes Spelman College, Emory University, and Morehouse College, as well as Georgia Tech and the corporate headquarters of Coca-Cola, among other leading businesses.
By stating a simple truth — that Russian interference in the US election calls Trump’s legitimacy into question — John Lewis once again shows our country what courage, integrity and leadership look like. And how does Trump respond? With amoral, ignorant narcissism. No one who’s ever read a history book could say, as Donald Trump has, that John Lewis is “all talk, talk, talk—no action or result.” But Donald Trump infamously doesn’t read—or show an interest in anything outside his own gold-plated tower.
You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong, is not right.
NOW calls on Trump to apologize to John Lewis, and to everyone in our country who believes in decency and honor. We also call for a thorough, independent investigation into the Russian interference in the election, and the ties between Russia and elements of Donald Trump’s campaign and business interests.
Finally, we call on every member of Congress to follow Rep. Lewis’s example, and decline to attend the inauguration. In explaining his decision to miss a presidential inauguration for the first time since his election to Congress, John Lewis said, “You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong, is not right.” Let that be the watchword for all of us going forward as we organize our resistance to the Trump regime.
Terry O’Neill is the President of the National Organization of Women (NOW).