Residents of Rep. John Lewis’ Georgia congressional district are firing back over Donald Trump’s assertion that it is “crime-infested.” Meanwhile, the incoming White House chief of staff defended the president-elect’s attack on Lewis, which came after the civil rights leader questioned the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency.
“Atlanta to Trump: Wrong” blared the front-page headline published by the Atlanta Journal- Constitution on Sunday, a day after 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.”
DONALD TRUMP Tweets on JOHN LEWIS
The paper pointed out that overall, crime is down in Atlanta, which ranked 14th in the nation for its rate of violent crime in 2015, according to statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was sharply critical of Trump’s attack on Lewis.
“John Lewis is an American hero & a national treasure. Period. Full stop,” Reed tweeted. “That PEOTUS Trump would attack Congressman Lewis on MLK Day weekend for ‘all talk … no action’ when he bled to actually ‘Make America Great’ is why far less than half the country supports him at the dawn of his presidency.”
In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” last week, Lewis said that the Russian government’s apparent interference with the U.S. election delegitimizes Trump’s victory.
“It’s going to be very difficult,” Lewis, who is boycotting Trump’s inauguration, told moderator Chuck Todd. “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”
Reince Priebus, Trump’s incoming chief of staff, called Lewis’ comments “insane” and “wrong.”
“We need folks like John Lewis, and others, who I think have been champions of voter rights, to actually recognize the fact that Donald Trump was duly elected,” Priebus said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday. “He’s going to put his hand on the Bible in five days. And I think it’s incredibly disappointing, and I think it’s irresponsible, for people like himself to question the legitimacy of the next United States president. I think putting the United States down across the world is not something that a responsible person does.”
But President Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that he hopes that Trump is ready not only to reach out to Lewis “but pursue some of the policies that Mr. Lewis has literally fought, bled and gone to jail for over the course of his remarkable life.”
“That would be the kind of thing that would not only send a message to the American people that we’re prepared to work together, but would also send a message to the Russians that we are united,” McDonough said. “Their efforts to divide us, to weaken us, to advance their own interests, at the expense of ours, are going to fail.”
Representative JOHN LEWIS of GEORGIA