Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) has drawn a line in the sand over Trump’s “shithole countries” remark. The lawmaker, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a young man has announced his plans to boycott the State of the Union speech later this month.
“At this junction, I do not plan to attend the State of the Union,” the longtime Georgia congressman told MSNBC‘s Katy Tur.
“I cannot in all good conscience be in a room with what he has said about so many Americans. I just cannot do it. I wouldn’t be honest with myself,” Lewis said.
During an Oval Office meeting in which lawmakers discussed restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa, Trump lashed out at the prospect of enacting legislation for those who come from “shithole countries.”
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“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said during a meeting with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Durbin (D-IL), as well as those with more hardline immigration stances, including Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), among others.
Adding insult to injury, Trump then went so far as to suggest that the United States should welcome people who come from countries like Norway. Trump met with the Norwegian Prime Minister yesterday. The difference, of course, is that Norwegians are overwhelmingly caucasian, whereas those from Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa are not.
Trump’s remark comes on the heels of his administration’s decision to end protections for more than 200,000 Salvadorans living in the United States. The move jeopardizes an entire subset of people who have been living in the country for 15 years.
Lewis’ move will no doubt draw ire from the president. He’s done it before. He boycotted the opening of the Civil Rights museum in Mississippi because Trump was slated to speak. He boycotted Trump’s inauguration, setting off a firestorm of angst from the President that no doubt contributed to Trump’s obsession with the size of his famously small inauguration crowds. Lewis really knows how to hit Trump where it hurts.