President Donald Trump paid tribute to John Lewis midway through Saturday afternoon after a silence that stretched out for nearly an entire day.
“Saddened to hear the news of civil rights hero John Lewis passing. Melania and I send our prayers to (him) and his family,” Trump wrote on Twitter at 2:05 p.m. EDT.
The president tweeted nearly 50 times after Lewis’ death on Friday before taking the time after a Saturday golf game to acknowledge the passing of the iconic civil rights leader.
The White House earlier Saturday issued a proclamation in Trump’s name ordering flags flown at half-staff for the day in honor of Lewis.
Vice President Mike Pence said even when they differed, Lewis “was always unfailingly kind” and “changed America forever.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said: “He leaves an enduring legacy that will never be forgotten.”
Through it all, Trump maintained a pointed silence amid his normal Saturday routine, and headed out to his Virginia golf resort around 9:30 a.m.
Neither Trump nor aides made any effort to explain the reason for the delayed response.
Before Trump’s belated tweet, Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., made the extraordinary suggestion that Trump keep his mouth shut out of respect for Lewis.
“Please let us mourn in peace,” wrote Bass, the head of the Congressional Black Caucus.
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