By saying he's not a 'legitimate president,' John Lewis sinks to Donald Trump's level

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tags: election 2016, Trump, John Lewis



Jonathan Zimmerman teaches education and history at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of “Campus Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know” (Oxford University Press).

Representative John Lewis is a genuine American hero. One of the original Freedom Riders, Lewis was beaten nearly to death by white supremacists as he campaigned for civil rights in the South.

Donald J. Trump is a bully, a narcissist, and a liar. After Lewis said that he was not a “legitimate president,” the notoriously thin-skinned President-elect tweeted false information about Lewis’ congressional district and claimed that Lewis was “all talk” and “no action.”

Nevertheless, Lewis was wrong to say that Trump won’t be our rightful leader. Indeed, Lewis’ remark sunk to the level of . . . Donald J. Trump. It played fast and loose with the facts, and it placed Lewis’ enemy — in this case, Trump himself — beyond the pale of decency and dignity. It rendered Trump not just as an opponent but as a fraud, who obtained his power via underhanded means.

And Lewis simply doesn’t know whether that’s true. "I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected,” Lewis said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” which was aired on Sunday. “And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”

Really? The Russians did attempt to undermine Clinton, of course, as a declassified intelligence report by three security agencies confirmed earlier this month. But that’s very different from saying that their intervention affected “political processes” or swung the election to Trump, as the same report emphasized. ...




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