Trump to John Lewis: Fix your 'horrible' Atlanta district

The Republican was unloading at Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who has represented the Atlanta district since his 1986 election, after the civil rights icon made national headlines when he told NBC's "Meet the Press" that he will skip Trump's inauguration next week.

"Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results," Trump said in a pair of Twitter messages ahead of the city's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations. "All talk, talk, talk - no action or results. Sad!"

Lewis told the program he believes in forgiveness but that he doesn't think he can stomach Trump's presidency.

"I believe in trying to work with people," he said. "It will be hard. It’s going to be very difficult. I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”

Lewis also said he believes Russia President Vladimir Putin helped elect Trump.

“I think it was a conspiracy on part of the Russians and others to help him get elected," he told MSNBC. "That’s not right, that’s not right. That’s not fair. That’s not the open democratic process."

Lewis has become one of the most vocal critics of Trump, vowing to resist his presidency. He testified this week against U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Trump’s nominee to be attorney general, and has urged Democrats to unite against his policies.

His civil rights legacy gives him a prominent pulpit. He was chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the early 1960s and led countless sit-ins and protests. An ally of King, Lewis was an architect of the March on Washington in August 1963 and was beaten so badly during the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march that his skull was fractured.

And it has the bulk of Georgia's higher education institutions: Emory University, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Georgia Tech and Georgia State University are all in the 5th Congressional District. It is also where many of the state's Fortune 500 companies are based, including Coca Cola Co., Southern Co. and Delta Air Lines.

It is also one of the most diverse districts in the South. Census data show it is about 58 percent black and 33 percent white, along with a growing Hispanic population. The district has an 8.2 percent unemployment rate and the median household income for residents is about $48,000.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.