Events honoring U.S. Representative John Lewis took place in Washington, D.C., on July 27 and 28, but President Donald Trump told a reporter on Monday that he did not plan to attend. The actual funeral for John Lewis was a private ceremony in Georgia on Thursday, but a public viewing took place in D.C. on Monday and Tuesday, where people can come to pay their respects to Lewis. Trump also did not attend the funeral.
Here’s what you need to know:
Trump Said ‘No, I Won’t Be Going’ When Asked About Events Honoring Lewis
When a reporter asked Trump if he planned to pay his respects to Lewis on Monday or Tuesday while he was lying in state at the Capitol, Trump responded: “No, I won’t be going. No.”
You can watch that moment below.
BREAKING: Asked if he planned to pay his respects to late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, who will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, Pres. Trump says, “No, I won’t be going. No.” https://t.co/ri9eENlkAQ pic.twitter.com/JjGiPgHeju
— ABC News (@ABC) July 27, 2020
A public viewing for Lewis took place just outside the Capitol today, Monday, July 27, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern and Tuesday, July 28, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern. Visitors were required to wear masks and social distance. A private ceremony honoring Lewis took place in the Rotunda just before the public viewing.
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence were scheduled to attend the viewing on Monday night, ABC 11 reported.
Earlier on Monday, the White House would not comment on whether Trump would attend the viewing on Monday or Tuesday, ABC 11 reported. But when asked by reporters later, he said that he would not be going.
Trump also did not attend Lewis’ funeral on Thursday. Former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama all attended and spoke at the funeral.
Trump Did Not Tweet About Lewis for 12 Hours After Lewis Died
Shortly after Lewis died on July 17, Trump tweeted, but not about Lewis’ death. In fact, it took him more than 12 hours before he acknowledged Lewis’ death. He tweeted numerous times before acknowledging Lewis’ death. Before saying anything publicly on Twitter, he did sign a proclamation for flags to fly at half-staff.
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) July 18, 2020
Just after 2 p.m. on July 18, he finally tweeted about Lewis.
Saddened to hear the news of civil rights hero John Lewis passing. Melania and I send our prayers to he and his family.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2020
He wrote: “Saddened to hear the news of civil rights hero John Lewis passing. Melania and I send our prayers to he and his family.”
Lewis Did Not Attend Trump’s Inauguration or Recent State of the Union Speeches
Lewis and Trump have had a tense relationship. Before Trump’s inauguration in 2017, Lewis said he didn’t see Trump as a legitimate president and he would not be attending the inauguration. He said, in part: “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president. I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected and they have destroyed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
Trump tweeted in response: “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. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!”
Lewis also did not attend Trump’s State of the Union speeches in 2017, 2018 and 2019. In 2018 he said: “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.”