Hillary Clinton supporter and Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis instructed students to “get in the way” and stir up “necessary trouble” while giving a commencement speech on Saturday.
Lewis pushed for amnesty for millions of illegal aliens before saying: “There’s a mean spirit in America today.”
“During the Sixties, during the days of President Kennedy, there was a greater sense of hope. And a greater sense of optimism,” he said. “We must rebuild that sense of hope, that sense of optimism and never let anything get you down.”
“As you leave here, as you leave MCLA—go out there, get in the way, get in trouble. Good trouble, necessary trouble and make some noise,” he said in a veiled swipe at President Donald Trump. “Our country needs you now more than ever before. When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation, a mandate to stand up, speak up and speak out.”
“Be brave. Be bold. Be courageous,” he continued. “And never, ever let anything get you down. Don’t get lost in a sea of despair, and never hate. The hate is too heavy a burden to bear. Just love everybody.”
Lewis and Trump have butted heads before, with Lewis saying Trump was not a “legitimate” president and Trump retorting that Lewis should spend more time helping his “crime-infested” congressional district. (The Georgia Democrat’s district includes most of Atlanta, which the FBI has labeled one of country’s top murder capitals.) In January, Lewis declared he would skip Trump’s inauguration.
“I don’t see the president-elect as a legitimate president,” Lewis told NBC News’ Chuck Todd. “I think there was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians, and others, that helped him get elected. That’s not right. That’s not fair. That’s not the open, democratic process.”
Lewis also claimed that it “will be the first one that I miss since I’ve been in Congress.” But he had also skipped former President George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2000, claiming he was not the “true elected president,” as the Washington Post reported in 2001.
Trump mocked Lewis for fixating on the election results.
“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,” Trump tweeted. “All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!” He later said Lewis had lied about skipping Bush’s inauguration.
Watch Lewis’s full commencement speech here.