Rep. John Lewis said Monday that President Trump’s election in 2016 “arrested” the movement for positive change in the country, arguing the president has not been "helpful" in combating hate.
Lewis, a Georgia Democrat and noted 1960's civil rights leader, made his remarks in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on a special called "Hate in America," where he repeatedly slammed the president.
Matthews asked specifically how Trump was elected in 2016, "knowing his attitudes about race, about division."
“I'm not so sure, but somehow and some way, his message arrested that movement toward goodness and openness. People stopped respecting the worth and dignity of all of us,” Lewis said.
“Somehow and some way, his message arrested that movement toward goodness and openness. People stopped respecting the worth and dignity of all of us.”
— Rep. John Lewis
In the same interview, Lewis said that Trump appears to "feel at home" with what's happening in the country, pointing to Trump’s remarks concerning the Charlottesville riots in 2017.
“I don’t think this president has been helpful. I think he feels at home with what is going on. When he reacted to what was happening in Charlottesville, you know, 'Good people on both sides,' I cried,” the lawmaker said.
“It’s not the America that I dream for, the one I was trying to help set right. It’s not the America we had during the days of President Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. It’s different.”
He implored Americans not to become "bitter" or "hostile" and said he "will never give up" on fighting racism and hate.
"We can never ever hate. If not, we will lose it. We cannot afford to lose our country, our democracy," he added.
This isn’t the first time Lewis assailed Trump and openly accused him of being racist. He refused to attend Trump’s first State of the Union after Trump reportedly referred to poorer countries as “s—hole countries” during a closed-door meeting.
“I think he is a racist,” Lewis said at the time.
Lewis also said last year that Trump wouldn’t be president if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today.
“Dr. King would have been able to lead us to a different place. Our country would be different. The world community would be different,” he said during an appearance on “The View.”