The chairman of the Fulton County Commissioin has sent a letter to President-elect Donald Trump, inviting him to "come walk our streets" after Trump called much of Atlanta "crime infested" and "falling apart" in a series of tweets this weekend.
The tweets, directed at Rep. John Lewis, were in response to the Atlanta congressman's comments that he did not see Trump as a legitimate president, and would skip his Friday inauguration.
In his letter, Fulton County Chairman John Eaves told Trump that it “would be very beneficial if you came to see the areas of metro Atlanta that you have said are in ‘horrible shape’ and ‘falling apart.’”
“I am extending a sincere invitation to you to visit Fulton County Georgia,” Eaves wrote. “…Please don’t judge from afar.”
Eaves called Lewis a civil rights icon and an American hero "who has worked tirelessly for our district and made great strides in improving our quality of life." He said that the county, much of which is represented by Lewis, faces challenges — but also has many assets, including its diversity, its educational institutions and many corporate headquarters.
"We're not in horrible shape," Eaves said in an interview Saturday. "We're a prideful community that has some challenges. I'm optimistic with collaboration, we can solve these challenges. That's why I want to invite him down. I think he needs to see first-hand, up close and personal, how our community really is instead of making a judgment from afar."
He asked Trump to talk with local leaders to “begin a positive dialogue.” With collaboration, Eaves wrote, “we can solve the challenges we face.”
Residents across metro Atlanta reacted to Trump's comments this weekend by defending their city on social media and elsewhere. They posted pictures of themselves enjoying an unseasonably warm January day and marked themselves as "safe" on Facebook in a tongue-in-cheek nod to Trump's language about crime.
Trump also said Lewis "should finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner-cities of the U.S." Trump continued to tweet about Lewis on Tuesday.
Eaves said he hoped Trump would use the comments about Lewis, which began over Martin Luther King Day weekend, as a starting point to help eradicate poverty in Atlanta and other cities.
“Atlanta’s it,” Eaves said. “If you can fix it here, you can fix it almost anywhere. …I feel I am going to be one of the first people to extend the invitation. My hope is he will respond.”
Though Trump’s Twitter ire has found many targets in the past, this is the first time it’s been “directed at home,” Eaves said.
In addition to sending the letter via email to Trump’s press office, Eaves also took to Twitter.
“Mr. Trump, come to Fulton County, the home of Atlanta, and see 1st hand the work we are doing,” Eaves wrote. “No war of words, we want your input.”
He tweeted again Monday afternoon, tagging Trump’s Twitter handle, saying he had not yet received a response from the president-elect.
“We all know President Trump is quick with tweeting,” Eaves said.
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Credit: Miguel Martinez