A source with knowledge of President Barack Obama’s plans says he is expected to speak at Rep. John Lewis’ funeral Thursday.
Another news outlet in Atlanta also reported Obama would be attending Thursday’s service, with former President George Bush and President Bill Clinton.
Deanna Congelio, a spokeswoman for President Jimmy Carter said the President and Rosaylnn Carter are “not traveling these days” but are sending their condolences in writing. Carter had appointed Lewis to a federal position when president.
Services for Lewis, the civil rights hero and longtime congressman who died July 17 at age 80, will be at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta at 11 a.m.
Although Lewis did not originally endorse Obama’s 2008 campaign against Hillary Clinton, Lewis came around, and the two formed a close relationship. Obama awarded Lewis the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
Upon news of Lewis’ death, Obama released a statement that said the two first met when Obama was in law school, and he told Lewis he was one of his heroes.
“Years later, when I was elected a U.S. Senator, I told him that I stood on his shoulders,” he wrote. “When I was elected President of the United States, I hugged him on the inauguration stand before I was sworn in and told him I was only there because of the sacrifices he made. And through all those years, he never stopped providing wisdom and encouragement to me and Michelle and our family. We will miss him dearly.”
Ebenezer’s Rev. Raphael Warnock will be presiding over the invitation-only funeral service. Lewis will be buried Thursday afternoon next to his wife, Lillian, at South-View Cemetery.