Donald Trump calls John Lewis lazy and Atlanta a dump. Atlanta shows Trump his seat.
By James Parker Sheffield
hogwasIN A BOLD MLK WEEKEND MOVE, president-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter to trash a Civil Rights hero, Atlanta U.S. Congressman John Lewis. To top it off, he declared Atlanta a crime-ridden wasteland.
If you’re wondering what crazy stunt the Congressman pulled to garner such ire from the future leader of the free world, Lewis made a blatant attempt to uphold his oath of office in an interview with NBC. Lewis remarked that he does not see Trump as a legitimate president in light of concerns regarding Russia’s intervention in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election and refused to attend inaugural events.
Trump must have gotten all-up-in his man-baby feelings quickly, because at 6:50 a.m. the following morning, he fired off a tweet referring to Rep. Lewis as lazy and “all talk, talk, talk, no action or results.” He also included the claim that Georgia’s 5th Congressional District is “in horrible shape” and “falling apart.”
But wait! There’s more!
Because Trump couldn’t fit all his insults into 140 characters, he followed that tweet up with a second calling District 5 “crime-infested.” Later that night, the incoming commander in chief doubled down on his claims about Rep. Lewis and the district.
There aren’t enough eye-roll emojis in the world for any of this.
BEYOND HOW OFFENSIVE AND WRONG the president-elect’s comments, and more than what a badass response our city provided, let’s pause for some quick reminders:
John Lewis is an elected official of the United States House of Representatives. He swore an oath to defend the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” If Intelligence agency reports led him to believe that the Oval Office could be compromised by a foreign power, it is his sworn duty to speak up. You don’t have to agree with his opinion to agree that he is carrying out his duties.
“Peaceful Transition of Power” means that the previous leader leaves of the property of their own free will and that the new leader doesn’t need the military to get into the office. Spectators don’t actually have to be present to “kiss the ring” to make it peaceful. It isn’t Rep. Lewis’ obligation to attend. In fact, his freedom to not attend is a good example of democracy in action.
Yes, there is crime in Atlanta. No, Atlanta is not “crime-infested.” In fact, just last summer, the City announced a 30 percent drop in crime since 2009. We’re not perfect, but we’re also pretty far from an emergency situation.
DEAR DONALD: NOBODY ASKED YOU. Where were we? Right, the toddler who gets the nuke codes called an American hero lazy and ineffective. Then he described our home as a trash fire, all in response to a grown-up trying to do adult-y things involving governance.
Needless to say, Atlanta did what Atlanta does and launched a hilarious, pointed defense campaign. The entire weekend was a bounty of pictures, videos, and testimonies to the greatness of Congressman John Lewis and his district.
Parents posted images of smiling children playing on their favorite “crime-infested” playgrounds, while Midtowners posted about the hellscape of Piedmont Park. The scene in East Point was particularly bad, where loving neighbors enjoy potlucks. Foodies were super pissed about how many options they have.
MIXED WITH THE SOUTHER SNARK on the vibrancy of District 5 were thousands of posts praising Rep. Lewis for his service to the country, both as an elected official and as a Civil Rights leader. Much like Cheeto-With-the-Bad-Hair’s claims about Atlanta, claims that Rep. Lewis is a man of “no action” can firmly be labeled ‘hogwash.’
Some pointed to him taking a club to the head in Selma, others to his involvement in lunch counter sit-ins. Amongst the tales of his legacy were pictures and videos of Rep. Lewis running up and down the Atlanta Pride Parade route, being present at LGBTQ events all over his district, and launching a sit-in on the floor of Congress because they failed to act on gun control after the Pulse Nightclub shooting.
It did my little native Georgian heart good to see the home team rally and put on such a good display.
If you missed any of it, check out hashtags #district5 #defendthe5th #JohnLewis
James Parker Sheffield lives, loves and works in LGBT Atlanta.