President Trump on Saturday ordered U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff “as a mark of respect for the memory and longstanding public service” of the late Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, a civil-rights leader.
In a proclamation, Mr. Trump ordered flags lowered through the day on Saturday at all federal properties and installations.
Vice President Mike Pence said Mr. Lewis was “a great man whose courage and decades of public service changed America forever, and he will be deeply missed.”
“While John Lewis will be rightly remembered as an icon of the civil rights movement, for me he was also a colleague and a friend,” said Mr. Pence, who once served with Mr. Lewis in the House.
While the vice president said he and Mr. Lewis often “differed,” Mr. Lewis was “always unfailingly kind.”
“Karen and I send our prayers and deepest sympathies to his family and friends and all who mourn the passing of this good and great man. May God bless the memory of John Lewis and may his example ever inspire,” the vice president said in a statement.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called Mr. Lewis “an icon of the civil-rights movement” on Saturday after his death at age 80.
“He leaves an enduring legacy that will never be forgotten,” she tweeted. “We hold his family in our prayers, as we remember Rep. John Lewis’ incredible contributions to our country.”
The Trump campaign issued a statement through Clarence Henderson, an advisory board member of Black Voices for Trump.
“We join the nation in mourning the loss of Representative John Lewis, an icon of the civil rights movement who dedicated his life and career to bettering our country,” Mr. Henderson said. “We will forever be grateful for the legacy he leaves as we pray for him and his family.”
Mr. Trump, who had clashed with Mr. Lewis, did not issue a formal statement immediately Saturday about his death. The president was visiting his golf course in northern Virginia.
A week before Mr. Trump’s inauguration in 2017, Mr. Lewis said he did not view Mr. Trump as the “legitimate” president. He and several other Democratic lawmakers boycotted the inauguration.
Former President Barack Obama said Mr. Lewis will continue to serve “as a beacon in that long journey towards a more perfect union.”
Mr. Obama said that at his inauguration in 2009, “I hugged him on the inauguration stand before I was sworn in and told him I was only there because of the sacrifices he made.”
“And through all those years, he never stopped providing wisdom and encouragement to me and Michelle and our family. We will miss him dearly,” Mr. Obama said.