Vice President-elect Mike Pence told Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace Sunday morning that he’s “deeply disappointed” that civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) doesn’t consider Donald Trump to be a legitimate president and won’t be attending the inauguration. Lewis made the comments in an interview airing this weekend on Meet The Press, saying he believes “the Russians participated in helping this man get elected.”
Pence proceeded to defend Trump’s critiques of Lewis, seeming to agree that Lewis, a prominent civil rights leader who worked closely with Martin Luther King, Jr., hasn’t been good for black people, but Trump will be. “I think Donald Trump has the right to defend himself,” Pence explained, referring to the President-elect’s tweets that Lewis should focus on his own district “rather than falsely complaining about the election results” and suggesting that the congressman is all-talk, no-action.
What Donald Trump was talking about there was literally generations of failed policies coming out of Washington, D.C. that have failed too many families and too many cities across the country.
I will tell you Donald Trump is a man who is profoundly impatient with failure, and you saw in the campaign, he went to major cities in this country and said, “We’re going to bring safety to our streets, we’re going to bring school choice to our children, we’re going to bring jobs and opportunities to our cities.” You remember that great line, “What the heck do you have to lose?” He is committed to being president of all of the people of this country and to bringing jobs and prosperity in ways that the failed liberal policies of the past several generations have not.
The line was technically, “What the hell do you have to lose?” Made at a rally in August, it was one of the first times Trump attempted to directly appeal to African-American voters, and it massively backfired. Two weeks after he made that statement, he visited a black church in Detroit and was greeted by protesters openly mocking him with the chant, “What do you have to lose? Everything.”
Trump accused Lewis of not doing enough to help fix his “burning and crime infested” district, which includes the city of Atlanta. There’s actually no evidence to support this depiction of Lewis’s district, making the comments a subtle racist smear — another example of Trump attempting to conflate black people with crime and poverty.
In December, Trump thanked African-American voters — for not voting. It’s true that he did better with black voters than either Mitt Romney or John McCain (President Obama’s opponents), but he received a lower percentage of black voters than any Republican presidential candidate in the three decades prior.