Trump said he will not visit the Capitol to pay respects to civil rights icon John Lewis

  • President Donald Trump on Monday said he did not plan to pay respects to civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis. 
  • "I won't be going, no," Trump said when asked if he would pay his respects to Lewis as the civil rights icon's body lies in state in the US Capitol.
  • Lewis and Trump had a contentious relationship, but past presidents often looked past any differences they may have had with prominent public figures in the event of their deaths in order to show respect. 

President Donald Trump on Monday told reporters he would not pay his respects to the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis as his body lies in state at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. 

"I won't be going, no," Trump said when asked about any plans to pay respects to Lewis, shortly before departing for a trip to North Carolina. 

Lewis on Monday was laying in state in the Capitol Rotunda for an invitation-only ceremony. His casket was escorted to the rotunda by a military honor guard after being brought by motorcade to the Capitol. A public viewing will begin later on Monday and carry into Tuesday. Due to COVID-19, the viewing is scheduled to take place outdoors at the top of the Capitol's east front steps. 

Lewis will lie in state in the Georgia State Capitol on Wednesday, and his funeral, which is not open to the public, will take place at Ebenezer Baptist Church Horizon Sanctuary in Atlanta on Thursday.

The late Georgia Democrat's family is also encouraging people to organize "John Lewis Virtual Love Events" to watch the events at home via livestream, CNN reported, due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

Lewis died on July 17 at the age of 80 after a months-long battle with Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

He was the last surviving speaker of the 1963 March on Washington and one of the original Freedom Riders. In 1965, Lewis led more than 600 peaceful demonstrators across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama on "Bloody Sunday."

Lewis served in the House of Representatives for over 30 years, garnering a reputation as the "conscience of Congress."

Trump did not have an amicable relationship with Lewis, a lawmaker who was not afraid to speak his mind.

In 2017, Lewis refused to attend Trump's inauguration, stating he wasn't a "legitimate president." Trump responded by attacking Lewis via Twitter, stating that the civil rights icon who once had his skull cracked while marching for voting rights was "all talk, talk, talk — no action or results." The Georgia Democrat's signature achievement was the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

Past presidents typically looked past disagreements they may have had with prominent public figures like Lewis in the event of their deaths. Former President Barack Obama, for example, in 2018 spoke at the funeral of the late GOP Sen. John McCain — his opponent in the 2008 presidential election. Trump, who also had a contentious relationship with McCain, was not invited to the funeral despite being the sitting president at the time. 

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