President Donald Trump said Monday, July 27, 2020, he will not be attending memorial services for civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis this week.
Lewis will lie in state at the Capitol as part of six days of funeral proceedings, and the public will be allowed to visit later Monday and Tuesday. Lewis died July 17 from pancreatic cancer at 80.
“No, I won’t be going, no,” Trump told reporters when asked if he would pay respects to Lewis Monday or Tuesday at the Capitol. Trump traveled Monday to North Carolina to visit a facility working on a COVID-19 vaccine and returned in the early evening.
Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence paid respects to Lewis as he lay in state Monday evening. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden also visited the Capitol to honor Lewis Monday.
Lewis served in Congress for more than three decades and fought against segregation and discrimination against Black Americans during the Civil Rights Movement, was an organizer of the March on Washington and a member of the original Freedom Riders.
In 2017, Trump lashed out at Lewis on Twitter, accusing him of being “all talk … no action or results,” after the congressman said he would skip Trump’s inauguration. Lewis considered Trump an illegitimate president because of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“I don’t see this president- elect as a legitimate president,” Lewis told NBC’s “Meet the Press” a week before the inauguration in January 2017. “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected and they have destroyed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
Lewis also refused to attend events where Trump would be present, including the dedication of a civil rights museum in Mississippi.
Trump issued a two-sentence tweet honoring Lewis the day after his death and the White House lowered flags to half-staff.