By Steve Peoples, AP
NEW YORK — Donald Trump’s feud with civil rights icon John Lewis is highlighting the president-elect’s willingness to attack any and all political rivals even with his inauguration less than a week away.
The Republican billionaire slammed the Democratic congressman — and his Atlanta-area district — on Saturday, a day after Lewis described Trump as an illegitimate president. Lewis, like a handful of Democratic lawmakers, vowed to skip Trump’s Friday swearing-in ceremony.
Trump tweeted that Lewis “should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results.”
The incoming president added: “All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!”
Trump continued to jab Lewis on Saturday night, charging that the congressman “should finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner-cities of the U.S.”
“I can use all the help I can get!” Trump tweeted.
Trump’s response was in line with his aggressive style throughout his unorthodox campaign in which he found political success even while attacking widely lauded figures — a prisoner of war, parents of a slain U.S. soldier, and a beauty queen, among others.
Lewis is among the most revered leaders of the civil rights movement and devoted his life to promoting equal rights for African-Americans. He suffered a fractured skull while leading the march in Selma, Alabama more than a half century ago.
“The tweet is unnecessary, it’s unfortunate,” former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, who is African-American, said on MSNBC
“John Lewis has a walk that very few people in this country — least of all Donald Trump — have ever walked. So you have to respect that and pay attention to that in a real sense,” Steele said.
One of Lewis’ Democratic colleagues, Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., also declared he would skip Trump’s inauguration, in part to defend Lewis.
“Trump — who lost the popular vote — has made a series of racist, sexist and bigoted statements. In addition, he has attacked Gold Star parents, veterans such as John McCain and now civil rights icon John Lewis,” Lieu said.
He added, “For me, the personal decision not to attend the Inauguration is quite simple: Do I stand with Donald Trump, or do I stand with John Lewis? I am standing with John Lewis.”