Tags: rep john lewis | illegitimate | trump

Rep. Lewis Goes Too Far Calling Trump Win Illegitimate

Rep. Lewis Goes Too Far Calling Trump Win Illegitimate

Congressman John Lewis on November 19, 2016, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

By Sunday, 15 January 2017 03:58 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Congressman John Lewis is treading in dangerous waters by calling President-elect Donald Trump illegitimate. The claim stems from allegations by the congressman that Russia bolstered Trump's presidential bid when they purportedly tampered with our recent presidential election's process — an accusation rooted in a report by American intelligence agencies that Russia, in an effort to interfere with the election, was behind the hacking of emails of both the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

"I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president… I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton," said Rep. Lewis.

"That’s going to send a big message to a lot of people in this country, that you don’t believe he’s a legitimate president," said journalist Chuck Todd.

"I think there was a conspiracy on the part of Russians and others to help him get elected," Rep. Lewis said. "That’s not right, that’s not fair, that’s not the open democratic process."

Lewis' recent statement was made during his interview with NBC's "Meet The Press," during which he insinuated the interference by Russia makes Donald Trump illegitimate before he even enters the Oval Office as Commander in Chief — a claim which could be dangerous to the footing of our nation’s long-standing electoral stability. To inject uncertainty in the voting process, particularly while releasing limited evidence in support, is a hazardous path for our elected officials to walk down. Here Lewis does it based on what appears to be a political agenda, rather than a motive grounded in an effort to seek the truth based on hard facts. In addition, Lewis, along with a growing list of Democrats, went as far as to also say they will not attend Trump’s inauguration. Lewis, stating this as the reason, said "I don’t plan to attend the inauguration. It will be the first one that I miss since I’ve been in Congress. You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong, is not right."

At some point we all must be honest that while Trump ran a dangerously divisive campaign, which many feel he built on long-standing racial animus, Hillary Clinton lost this election based on her own failures to connect with the needs of voters. While the intelligence agencies have reported that the emails were hacked, they have not claimed that the emails were changed — nor has Hillary Clinton’s campaign, or the Democratic National Committee. In fact several media sources have used commercial software to authenticate the messages when the Clinton camp and DNC would not verify the exchanges' authenticity.

Within the emails everything from attempts by the DNC to undermine the Bernie Sanders campaign, to clear violations of the CNN/NewsOne town-hall process — when members of the DNC gave Clinton confidential questions to be asked prior to the event — were exposed. In the end it appears Lewis attacked Trump's legitimacy for a set of truths being exposed to the electorate from the hacking, not for a fraud imposed on them.

Also, it cannot be understated that African-Americans have had a tenuous relationship with America’s intelligence agencies to say the least. From the admission of wiretapping of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to the confirmation of the Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement in the Iran Contra Scandal, America’s intelligence agencies have not been the strongest ally of black America. As an example, the Emmy-nominated documentary I served as a producer on, “Freeway: Crack In The System,” covered the Iran Contra scandal extensively, detailing the fine line of complicity the CIA walked with cocaine trafficking within black America.

To now have civil rights icon John Lewis take the forefront on this fight with the president-elect, and paint the legitimacy of Donald Trump with black and white colors based on limited intelligence agency reports, is more than reckless. Some will say Lewis is speaking as an individual, others will say this is payback for the birther position Trump took as a then-businessman against President Obama. To both of those I say this is entirely different, and again dangerous in a much more unsettling way. While I am against many of the political stances Donald Trump has taken on policy, and strongly question many of his cabinet appointments, he did win the presidential election we held in November of last year.

The thorny road we walk down when a sitting congressman overtly questions the legitimacy of our soon-to-be president leaves us in a place that none of us may want to follow to its ultimate end.

Antonio Moore, an attorney based in Los Angeles, is one of the producers of the Emmy-nominated documentary "Freeway: Crack in the System." He has contributed pieces to the Grio, The Huffington Post, and Inequality.org on the topics of race, mass incarceration, and economics. Follow him on YouTube Channel Tonetalks. For more of his reports, Click Here Now.

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The thorny road we walk down when a sitting congressman overtly questions the legitimacy of our soon-to-be president leaves us in a place that none of us may want to follow to its ultimate end.
rep john lewis, illegitimate, trump
Sunday, 15 January 2017 03:58 PM
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