Trump attacks civil rights hero on eve of Martin Luther King Jr Day

  • 15/01/2017
Congressman John Lewis
Congressman John Lewis (Reuters)

US President-elect Donald Trump has sparked yet another controversy by attacking a Democrat congressman as being "all talk and no action".

The problem with the accusation is that the congressman - John Lewis - was a black Civil Rights leader who marched and fought for equality with Martin Luther King Jr.

Another problem is that Mr Trump made the claim on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day - a national holiday for the slain civil rights leader.

In a pair of tweets overnight, the billionaire reality TV star attacked the congressman who announced he wouldn't attend the President-elect's inauguration.

"Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart," said Mr Trump.

"(Not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk - no action or results. Sad!"

Mr Lewis was beaten by police during a march he helped lead in 1965 in Selma, Alabama, drawing attention to hurdles for blacks to vote. He protested alongside Dr King that day and on other occasions.

Many prominent Americans have tweeted critical reactions to Mr Trump's comments, with images showing Mr Lewis protesting for civil rights.

"While you avoided the draft, John Lewis risked his life for equality in America. You'll never even dream of such selfless patriotism," former independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin wrote.

Several of Mr Trump's fellow Republicans criticised his tweet.

Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska tweeted that "John Lewis and his 'talk' have changed the world."

Neoconservative critic Bill Kristol tweeted: "It's telling, I'm afraid, that Donald Trump treats (Russian President) Vladimir Putin with more respect than he does John Lewis."

Mr Lewis, a Democrat who represents Georgia’s 5th congressional district, had earliy told NBC in an interview: "I don't see this President-elect as a legitimate president.

"I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton."

When asked about working with the new Trump administration he said: "I believe in forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with people. It's going to be hard. It's going to be very difficult."

It will be the first time Mr Lewis will miss such an event since being elected to the House of Representatives in 1986.

Newshub. / Reuters