(JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League defended Rep. John Lewis after he was criticized by President-elect Donald Trump on Twitter.
Trump was responding to Lewis’ comments made Saturday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” in which he said Trump is not a “legitimate president” based on reports of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, also said he would not attend Friday’s inauguration — one of at least 18 Democratic congressmen who have announced their intentions to skip the handover of power.
Lewis said working with the new president “is going to be very difficult.” He added: “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
Trump responded on Twitter later in the day in two tweets: “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!”
Lewis, who has served as congressman for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District since 1987, is recognized as a leader in the civil rights movement. He was beaten by state troopers during the March 7, 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama, and arrested more than 40 times for his civil rights work.
In a separate tweet, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt called Lewis his “personal hero.”
Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and senior vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism, tweeted “Yeah, I am with him,” in support of Lewis.
The American Jewish Committee also corrected Trump in a tweet, saying of Lewis: “His life has been all action & results. He changed US history.”
Among the congressmen who have said they will not attend the inauguration is Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York.