Democratic Rep. John Lewis said he does not see Donald Trump as a legitimate president on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” saying a Russian “conspiracy” to help him win invalidated the result.
“I believe in forgiveness, I believe in trying to work with people,” he told Chuck Todd in an interview clip published Friday, when asked whether he would “forge” a relationship with Trump. “It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be very difficult. I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”
“I think the Russians participated in helping get this man elected,” he added. “And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I don’t plan to attend inauguration. It will be the first one that I miss since I’ve been in the Congress. You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong.”
“I think there was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians and others to help him get elected,” Lewis added. “That’s not right. That’s not fair. That’s not the open democratic process.”
The U.S. intelligence community believes with high confidence that one of Russia’s primary goals in meddling in the election was to undermine faith in the U.S. democratic process, although it found no evidence of tampering with votes in any way. Nevertheless, Democrats have worked to undermine the legitimacy of Trump’s election from a number of angles since he won. Few have gone so far, however, as to openly question the result or make the assertion that Russian meddling changed the result.
Todd remarked: “That’s going to send a big message to a lot of people in this country, that you don’t believe he’s a legitimate president.”