Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, a longtime civil rights figure, says he doesn’t consider Donald Trump a “legitimate” president because he believes Russia helped him to win the election.
In an interview to air Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Mr. Lewis told host Chuck Todd that he will boycott Mr. Trump’s inauguration next Friday.
“I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” Mr. Lewis said. “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected and they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
Mr. Trump fired back on Twitter Saturday morning.
“Congressman John 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,” Mr. Trump said. “All talk, talk, talk - no action or results. Sad!”
The lawmaker said it will be the first presidential inauguration that he’s missed since his election to Congress in 1986.
“You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong,” he said. “I think there was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians and others to help him get elected. That’s not right, that’s not fair, that’s not the open democratic process.”
Asked if he will try to work with Mr. Trump, Mr. Lewis replied, “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.”
Mr. Trump said this week that he accepts intelligence reports blaming Russia for hacking into Democratic Party officials emails, but said it had no effect on the outcome of the election. He also has blamed the Obama administration for leaking intelligence reports to try to undermine the legitimacy of his victory.