“It was a conspiracy”: A leading member of US Congress is calling Trump’s election illegitimate

Congressman John Lewis rose to fame as a civil rights activist in the 1960s.
Congressman John Lewis rose to fame as a civil rights activist in the 1960s.
Image: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
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When finally admitting that Russia hacked the US election, Donald Trump insisted on one thing: that it didn’t affect the overall result.

A senior member of Congress, Democrat John Lewis, disagrees, telling NBC in an interview that he doesn’t recognize Trump’s victory.

“I don’t see the president-elect as a legitimate president,” said Lewis, a legendary civil rights activist who helped organize the 1963 March on Washington alongside Martin Luther King Jr. “I think it was a conspiracy on part of the Russians and others to help him get elected. That’s not right, that’s not right. That’s not fair. That’s not the open democratic process,” he told NBC.

A 30-year veteran of Congress and leading member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Lewis said he would not attend Trump’s inauguration. “It will be the first one that I’ll miss since I’ve been in the Congress,” he said. “You cannot be at home with something that you feel is wrong.”

Lewis is not the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus to skip the event. California congresswoman Barbara Lee has said she does not feel she can attend because of Trump’s campaign of “racism, sexism, xenophobia and bigotry.”

Trump has yet to respond to the statement, but few onlookers would struggle to see the irony of any rage coming from a man who spent years perpetuating the “birther” lie designed to discredit Barack Obama’s presidency.

It’s worth noting that this type of discord is likely to be exactly what the Kremlin wants: having got a sympathetic figure elected to the White House, it can only help Vladimir Putin’s efforts to rebalance the global order if the US president faces a legitimacy crisis at home.