Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis said on MSNBC Friday afternoon that President Trump has racism “in his DNA” and “in his makeup.”
Lewis made the accusation following Trump’s reported comments that America needs fewer Haitian immigrants and more immigrants from countries like Norway. The president reportedly referred to some countries in Africa as a “shithole.”
“I think the words and his action tend to speak like one who knows something about being a racist,” Lewis said when asked if he thought Trump is a racist. “It must be in his DNA, in his makeup, but it’s frightening to have someone in the office of the president in 2018 speaking the way that he is speaking. We’ve come too far and made too much progress to go back to fan the flames of racism and bigotry.”
Lewis also said during the interview that he will not be attending President Trump’s first State of the Union address later this month, making him the second Democratic congressman to boycott the annual address.
“At this juncture I do not plan to attend the State of the Union,” Lewis said.
“I cannot in all the conscience be in a room with what he has said about so many Americans,” he added. “I just cannot do it. I wouldn’t be honest with myself.”
Lewis and Trump have had a rocky relationship in the past. The Democratic congressman refused to recognize Trump as a “legitimate president” ahead of Trump’s inauguration last year, which Lewis boycotted. Lewis similarly boycotted the opening of a civil rights museum in Mississippi last month so he wouldn’t have to share a stage with Trump.