President Donald Trump apparently does not think much of John Lewis. In an interview with Axios, Trump was asked about the late Congressman and civil rights pioneer, who died at the age of 80 on July 17, and didn't have much of an answer.
"I don't know," Trump replied. "I really don't know. I don't know John Lewis; he chose not to come to my inauguration. I never met John Lewis." When Jonathan Swan then asked if he found Lewis' career "impressive," Trump had a similar non-response. "Uh . . . I can't say one way or another. I find a lot of people impressive; I find a lot of people not impressive. He didn't come to my inauguration; he didn't come to my State of the Union speeches — and that's okay, that's his right."
Trump then went on to once again claim that "nobody has done more for Black Americans than I have." Though he did concede that Lewis brought "a lot of energy and heart" before adding that "there were many others also."
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany did post a message commemorating Lewis, calling Lewis an "icon of the civil rights movement" on Twitter and "an enduring legacy that will never be forgotten," adding, "We hold his family in our prayers, as we remember Rep. John Lewis' incredible contributions to our country." Trump also tweeted that he was "saddened to hear the news of civil rights hero John Lewis passing" and that "Melania and I send our prayers to he and his family." He did not, however, attend the service for Lewis in the Capitol Rotunda.
Just hours before his death, Lewis and Rep. Kevin McCarthy led a bipartisan group of Congressional members to support grants for teachers. In a letter sent to Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Education Secretary, the pair were joined by 153 of their peers voiced support for the Center for Civic Education's grant applications, requesting funds for their Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) Program. As the proposal read, it would "provide teachers with professional development in the fields of elementary, middle, and high school civics and government across the country," along with a request for $25.6 million. "There is universal agreement that improving student outcomes in civics or any subject field takes dedication, commitment, and perseverance. Educating America's youth – the next generation of leaders of our country — on the principles enshrined in our Nation's founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights — is critical."