Congressman and civil rights campaigner John Lewis has been defended by politicians, entertainers and many others after he became embroiled in a row with President-elect Donald Trump.
The president-elect tweeted that John Lewis was “all talk” and should focus on his constituents, after he said Donald Trump was not a legitimate president.
However, John Lewis’ supporters reacted with anger, saying he was a hero and icon.
He is the last surviving speaker from the 1963 March on Washington, led by Martin Luther King.
The row came as civil rights activists led by Rev. Al Sharpton began a week of protests ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20.
Several thousand protesters braved near-freezing temperatures to march to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington DC, chanting: “No justice, no peace.”
In a separate development on January 14, African American Broadway star Jennifer Holliday pulled out of performing at the inauguration after pressure from followers, many of them from the LGBT community.
Jennifer Holliday, who has sung for both Republican and Democrat presidents, apologized for her “lapse of judgement” and said she did not realize her participation would be seen as expressing support for Donald Trump.
Democrat John Lewis said on January 13 he would not attend the inauguration on the grounds that he did not see Donald Trump as a legitimate president.
He told NBC’s Meet the Press: “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected.
“And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
Donald Trump tweeted on January 14: “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime-infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!”