Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, told President Donald Trump on Saturday that he should “say nothing” on the passing of civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), apparently for partisan political reasons.
.@realDonaldTrump while the nation mourns the passing of a national hero, please say nothing. Please don’t comment on the life of Congressman Lewis. Your press secretary released a statement, leave it at that.
Please let us mourn in peace.
— Congressmember Bass (@RepKarenBass) July 18, 2020
President Trump tweeted Saturday that he and First Lady Melania Trump were “[s]addened to hear” of Lewis’s passing, and he ordered flags nationwide to be flown at half-mast in mourning.
Saddened to hear the news of civil rights hero John Lewis passing. Melania and I send our prayers to he and his family.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2020
But Bass rejected the president’s gesture, and told MSNBC that she was outraged that flags were only being flown at half-mast for a day.
The White House flying the flag at half-staff for one day is insulting.
The flag should fly at half-staff throughout the entire country until Congressman Lewis is in his final resting place. pic.twitter.com/By9ew3HP4N
— Congressmember Bass (@RepKarenBass) July 19, 2020
Lewis, as head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), led non-violent civil rights marches in the 1960s, and was injured several times, including at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in 1965.
As a member of Congress, Lewis emerged as one of the most partisan members of the House of Representatives. He falsely accused the Tea Party of shouting the “N-word” during a protest against Obamacare in March 2020. He also frequently referred to Republican presidential candidates as racist. Once, he falsely accused Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) of not participating in the civil rights movement. (Sanders was, in fact, arrested during a civil rights protest in Chicago.)
Lewis also falsely accused President Trump of supporting white supremacists, saying that he cried when Trump said there were “good people on both sides” of protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Trump actually condemned the white supremacists “totally.”)
Despite their past political disputes, however, Trump mourned Lewis without further comment.
Bass is frequently mentioned as a top contender to be former Vice President Joe Biden’s running mate in 2020.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.