“Disgusted” Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms branded Donald Trump a “narcissist” and “delusional” over comments the president made that appeared to downplay the legacy of the late Rep. John Lewis, whose funeral took place last week.
In a wide-ranging interview with Axios’s Jonathan Swan published on Tuesday, Trump said “I don’t know. I really don’t know,” when asked how he thought Lewis, one of the heroes of the US civil rights movement, would be remembered. “He chose not to come to my inauguration”.
Following his death earlier this month, Lewis’s body was laid in state in the Capitol, an honour reserved for the US’s most distinguished citizens. His death was mourned around the world and his funeral, 30 July, was attended by three former presidents.
But when asked if he thought Lewis was impressive, Trump replied: “I can’t say one way or the other...He didn’t come – he didn’t come to my inauguration...he should’ve come. I think he made a big mistake”.
Pressed further on Lewis’s achievements, the president said: “He was a person that devoted a lot of energy and a lot of heart to civil rights, but there were many others also.”
Responding to the comments on CNN, Georgia Democrat Bottoms said she was “disgusted”, adding that the only thing Trump “believes in is himself”. “He doesn’t care anything about the American people, he doesn’t care anything about the history of this country, he doesn’t care anything about the future of this country,” Bottoms added.
“He’s delusional. He’s a narcissist and he is delusional,” Bottoms continued. “He’s done nothing for African Americans in this country, and to speak that in the same sentence as John Lewis is almost blasphemous.”
Bottoms said Trump was “destroying democracy in real time”, adding that another four years with him in office would leave Americans “in even more trouble than we are in now”. The 2020 presidential election is “the most important election of our lifetime”, she added.
Lewis, one of the original Freedom Riders and the youngest speaker at the March on Washington in 1963, died aged 80 on 17 July. He had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
In a final message published on the day of his funeral, Lewis urged Americas to “redeem the soul of the nation”.
“You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society,” he said of the recent Black Lives Matter protests.
“Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.”
Evoking the memory of Martin Luther King, Lewis said it was incumbent upon all Americans to “stand up, speak up and speak out” against racial injustice and inequality.
Democratic processes are “key” to enacting nonviolent change, Lewis said as he urged Americans to use their votes.
“Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America..” he said.