U.S. Rep. John Lewis' comment that he doesn't see President-elect Donald Trump as a "legitimate president" was just one of many uncharacteristically pessimistic things the Atlanta Democrat had to say about the state of politics on NBC's "Meet the Press" today.
Asked by host Chuck Todd about whether he could accept working with the New Yorker under any circumstances, the veteran lawmaker replied that it would be "almost impossible."
"Well, it's going to be very hard and very difficult," Lewis said.
The civil rights hero said he wouldn't invite Trump to accompany him to Selma, the Alabama town where he was nearly beaten to death on what later became known as "Bloody Sunday" -- an offer he's extended to Trump's three White House predecessors.
He said of Trump if he did visit Selma, "maybe he would learn something. Maybe he would get religion."
The tone was an extraordinary departure for Lewis, who is known for a more optimistic message of unity, equality and peaceful protest.
Excerpts from the interview released Friday were what prompted the President-elect to tweet at two different points Saturday that Lewis was "all ... talk -- no action or results" and that the lawmaker should "spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape."
Trump's criticism prompted an outpouring of incredulous "how dare you!"s from Atlantans. Republicans struggled to defend the New York businessmen, while Democrats began sending out fundraising notices. The online bookseller Amazon sold out of Lewis' memoir "Walking with the Wind" within hours, while a collection of his three graphic novels, "March," shot to No. 1 on the site's bestseller list.
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