Republican Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse urged civil rights legend Georgia Congressman John Lewis to change his mind and attend Donald Trump’s inauguration.
“To John Lewis, one of my heroes,” Sasse tweeted on Friday. “Please come to the inauguration. It isn’t about a man. It is a celebration of peaceful transfer of power.”
To John Lewis, one of my heroes:
Please come to the Inauguration. It isn't about a man. It is a celebration of peaceful transfer of power.
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) January 14, 2017
On Friday, Lewis announced that he would be skipping the inauguration for the first time in his 30 years in the House of Representatives, after saying that he does not believe that Trump is a “legitimate president.”
“I don’t plan to attend the inauguration. It will be the first one that I miss since I’ve been in Congress,” Lewis said. “You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong, is not right.”
In an interview with NBC News’s ‘Meet the Press,’ Lewis said “I believe in forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with people. It will be hard. It’s going to be very difficult. I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”
His remarks came when asked if he would “forge a relationship” with the President-elect. When pressed on why he believes that Trump’s presidency is illegitimate, Lewis pointed to the unanimous conclusion of the U.S. Intelligence Community that Russia interfered in the U.S. election with the goal of tipping the scales in Trump’s favor.
“I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton,” Lewis said. Trump, for the first time, acknowledged this week that Russia was responsible for some hacking during the campaign, though the President-elect and his team continue to assert that it did not have any effect in the outcome of the election.
For his part, Sasse was one of the most vocal so-called ‘Never Trump’ Republicans prior to the election, having never backed Trump’s presidential bid.