- Associated Press - Monday, January 16, 2017

BOSTON (AP) - Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Monday that Rep. John Lewis has earned the right to raise questions about the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s election.

The Massachusetts Democrat defended her fellow Democrat from Georgia, a key figure in the civil rights movement who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and suffered assaults like King during their nonviolent protests.

Lewis has said he doesn’t plan to attend the inauguration, and last week said he doesn’t consider Trump a “legitimate president,” blaming Russia for helping him win the White House. In response, the Republican president-elect criticized Lewis, tweeting “All talk, talk, talk - no action or results.”

“When Donald Trump says that our friend John Lewis is all talk and no action he is talking about a man who was beaten to the ground with a club, his skull fractured while leading a peaceful march for voting rights - a man who literally put his body on the line, his life on the line and who bled for his country for justice and equality,” Warren told those gathered for a Martin Luther King Memorial Breakfast.

Donald Trump hasn’t put his life on the line for anyone except Donald Trump,” Warren told reporters later. “John Lewis has earned the right to raise questions about legitimacy.”

Other Massachusetts Democrats speaking at the breakfast on the King holiday took the opportunity to criticize Trump and support Lewis. Sen. Edward Markey said “fighting for civil right speaks louder than tweets from a tower.”

Warren echoed some of Lewis‘ concerns about the president-elect and referred to the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the election to influence the outcome for Trump. She said questions must be answered to find out exactly what Russia did.

Warren said that she’ll attend the inauguration to witness the transfer of power, but that no one should interpret her presence as support for Trump’s policies, particularly the effort by Republicans to roll back President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Warren said the GOP has been trying for years to undo the law, which she said - despite its flaws - has helped millions of Americans get health care.

“Now we discover that they’re in charge and they have no plan. So evidently what they have in mind is just repeal and run away,” Warren told reporters. “That is not a strategy. That is what cowards do.”

Republicans have called the law a disaster and said it has led to soaring insurance costs. They have also pledged to replace the law with something better.

Trump, without providing details, promised his plan would provide universal coverage, according to a Washington Post interview published late Sunday.

At the breakfast, Markey also said Trump’s pick for attorney general, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, stands for everything King would have opposed.

“So when the Senate convenes to vote on this nomination, senators should remember black lives matter, black voices matter, black votes matter,” he said.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey also defended Lewis and criticized what she called Sessions’ “deplorable record on civil rights.”

Donald Trump can’t even tie John Lewis‘ shoes,” she said.

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