Fox News host Jesse Watters confronted Rep. John Lewis (R-Ga.) Friday over the claim he made earlier this month that President Donald Trump was not legitimately elected.
Watters introduced himself and the two shook hands, but Lewis made it clear early on in the exchange that he was running “very late” and wasn’t able to talk. Watters, though, promised to “make it quick” and continued with his first question.
“You said that Trump is an illegitimate president. Do you regret that?” Watters asked.
But the Georgia Democrat kept walking and looking straight ahead as if Watters wasn’t even there.
“That’s a pretty divisive thing to say, wouldn’t you agree?” Watters tried again.
Lewis was not having it. At one point, another man who appeared to be part of Lewis’ staff even stepped in front of the TV camera.
“Congressman? Don’t you think you owe a little respect to the office?” Watters asked a final time.
Lewis said during an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” earlier this month that he doesn’t think Trump was elected legitimately.
“I believe in forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with people. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be very difficult. I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” Lewis said.
“I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected and they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton,” Lewis added.
Lewis was one of around 50 congressional who did not attend Trump’s inauguration. Lewis initially claimed it would be the first presidential inauguration he’d skipped since being elected to Congress. However, according to a 2001 Washington Post report, Lewis not only skipped the inauguration of the last Republican president, George W. Bush, but Lewis questioned whether Bush was legitimately elected as well.
“He [Lewis] thought it would be hypocritical to attend Bush’s swearing-in because he doesn’t believe Bush is the true elected president,” the Post article, published the day after Bush’s inauguration, read.
Like Trump, Bush was elected to the presidency after winning the electoral vote but losing the popular vote. They are two of only four presidents in American history to take office without winning the popular majority.
Before 2000, you would have go all the way back to 1888 for an instance where the president did not win both the electoral vote and the popular vote, the Los Angeles Times reported.
That’s when Benjamin Harrison was elected commander-in-chief, even though Grover Cleveland won the popular vote. And in 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes lost the popular vote to Samuel Tilden. Hayes took office the following year as the result of the deal now known as the Compromise of 1877.