President Donald Trump sharply criticized former President Barack Obama’s eulogy of civil rights icon John Lewis during a Fox News interview on Wednesday morning.
“I thought it was a terrible speech. It was an angry speech,” Trump said. “It showed his anger there that people don’t see. He lost control and he’s been really hit very hard by both sides for that speech. That speech was ridiculous.”
In the eulogy at Ebenezer Baptist Church last week, Obama praised Lewis’ decades of civil rights advocacy beginning when he was a young man in the civil rights movement through his tenure in Congress.
He also condemned Trump’s campaign to sow doubt in the legitimacy of US elections and other efforts to suppress voting and Black Americans’ civil rights. He asked Congress to pass a new Voting Rights Act in Lewis’ honor, called for Election Day to become a national holiday, demanded an end to gerrymandering, and condemned police brutality against Black Americans.
Just hours before Obama spoke, Trump repeated his false claims that voting by mail will lead to mass voter fraud and floated the idea of postponing his reelection — something he cannot legally do.
“Even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations, and targeting minorities and students with restrictive ID laws, and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision,” Obama said. “John Lewis devoted his time on this Earth fighting the very attacks on democracy and what’s best in America that we are seeing circulate right now.”
Trump and Lewis traded barbs over the years, and the president said in a recent interview, “I can’t say one way or the other” how he believed history would remember Lewis. Trump, who didn’t attend Lewis’ funeral, instead complained that the congressman refused to attend his inauguration.