Leaders Pay Tribute to Civil Rights Icon John Lewis: ‘A Pioneering Civil Rights Leader Who Put His Life on the Line’

Leaders of the African American Movement pose in New York July 29 1964 as they hold conference on civil rights. From left are: Bayard Rustin: Jack Greeberg, director of counsel of the Naacp Educational and Legal Defense Fund; Whitney Young JR., director of the National Urban League; James Farmer, National …
Eddie Adams/AP Photo

Leaders and political figures across the nation paid tribute to late-Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) following the news of his death, remembering him as “a pioneering civil rights leader who put his life on the line to fight racism, promote equal rights, and bring our nation into greater alignment with its founding principles” and someone who “helped transform this country.”

Lewis, a civil rights movement icon who worked alongside the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., passed away Friday after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Tributes have poured in as political figures celebrate and remember his contributions to the movement.

“The Senate and the nation mourn the loss of Congressman John Lewis, a pioneering civil rights leader who put his life on the line to fight racism, promote equal rights, and bring our nation into greater alignment with its founding principles,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in a statement, promising that the nation will “never forget this American hero”:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) credited Lewis with helping to “transform this country” and added that the leader “won’t ever be forgotten by those who believe America can change when the people stand together and demand it”:

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of my good friend, @repjohnlewis,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) said, noting that Lewis welcomed him with “open arms” when he came into the House in 2011:

“My heart is saddened. Last night John Lewis died, but for 80 years he showed us how to truly live,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said. “Our hero is with God. May we be his legacy”:

Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton described Lewis as the “truest kind of patriot.”

“He believed America could be better, even live up to its highest founding ideals of equality & liberty for all. He made good trouble to help us get there,” she said, calling on the rest of the country to “carry on his work”:

“We have lost a moral giant,” former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said. “The courage of John Lewis, getting into what he called ‘good trouble,’ shaped America for the better.”

“He will live on any time we honor his words to us in Selma: ‘We must use the vote as a nonviolent instrument or tool to redeem the soul of America,’” he added:

“Rep. John Lewis was an icon of the civil rights movement, and he leaves an enduring legacy that will never be forgotten,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, offering prayers to his family:

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