ABC Comes to the Aid of Lewis, Slams Trump for Twitter Attacks

ABC had clearly picked sides in the fight between President-elect Donald Trump and Congressman John Lewis, who claimed Trump was an “illegitimate president,” during their Sunday morning programming. The network spent that time slamming Trump for his counterattack on the congressman, even tying it to Martin Luther King Jr. “You know, just five days before the inauguration and one day before MLK day,” noted Paula Faris on Good Morning America, “President-elect Donald J. Trump is doubling down in his war of words with the civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis.

This all started because Lewis said Trump's presidency was not legitimate and would boycott the inauguration,” she continued as she defended Lewis, “Critics tweeting out pictures of Lewis' mug shot from just one of his many arrests during his time in the civil rights movement.

Her colleague Dan Harris insinuated that Trump would take his frustration out on the National Museum of African American History and Culture by not showing up to a planned event on Monday. But he was never forthcoming with any evidence that would lead to that sort of conclusion.

The gush was followed up with a cushy report by David Wright who glorified Lewis saying, “Others have called John Lewis the conscience of the Congress. The living link to Dr. King's dream.” Wright was dismissive of Trump’s knocks on Lewis, reporting that, “Donald Trump went ballistic. Lambasting Lewis as ‘All talk, talk, talk. No action or results.’

The ABC reporter leaned on anti-Trump journalist Cokie Roberts, who remarked how Trump’s feud with Lewis was “not the way to reach out” to the people who didn’t support him. Wright ended his report rebuking Trump’s critique of Lewis’ district saying, “And Trump is also wrong in suggesting in his tweets that Lewis' home district is crime-infested, full of urban decay,” because big businesses are headquartered there.

ABC did not disapprove of Lewis’ claim that Trump was an “illegitimate president.” In fact, Harris seemed to lend it credence:

At the heart of this dispute between Trump and Lewis is, of course, the issue of Russia. The reason the congressman says he can't support the new president is that he believes Russia helped get Trump elected. And with congress now poised to investigate possible or alleged contacts between the campaign and the Kremlin, ABC’s Alex Marquardt has just arrived in Moscow.

During the following hour, on ABC’s This Week, Clinton lackey George Stephanopoulos grilled Trump’s Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, on the Tweets asking, “But isn't it harder to [bring people together] after a tweet like that from the president-elect?

Priebus called them out on their lunacy, arguing, “But George, hang on. John Lewis stood up in an interview and said that Donald Trump was not a legitimate president. That's insanity.” “And to question the legitimacy of the next United States president. And you're worried about a tweet that says, “Hey, why don't you get back to work instead of questioning my legitimacy?” Too bad,” he exclaimed.

ABC had made it clear on Thursday’s World News Tonight that they plan to use any allegation of a Russian connection against the incoming president. That night, reporter Brian Ross insulated that Trump was wrong about Russia not having dirt on him and touted the KGB’s ‘blackmail tactics.’ Disregarding, and even backing up, Lewis’ smear of illegitimacy appears to be in the same vein. 

Transcripts below:

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ABC
Good Morning America
January 15, 2017
8:01:46 AM Eastern

PAULA FARIS: And good Sunday morning, everyone. On behalf of all of us here, we want to thank you for joining us. You know, just five days before the inauguration and one day before MLK day. President-elect Donald J. Trump is doubling down in his war of words with the civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis.

DAN HARRIS: Trump taking to Twitter to call Lewis “All talk, talk, talk, and no action.” And also attacking the congressman's district in Atlanta as crime-infested.

FARIS: This all started because Lewis said Trump's presidency was not legitimate, and would boycott the inauguration. Here's the aftermath of all of this. Critics tweeting out pictures of Lewis' mug shot from just one of his many arrests during his time in the civil rights movement. Pointing out he has, in fact, been a man of action during his long career.

HARRIS: Trump, per usual, not backing down here. But will he go forward with his planned visit to the National African-American Museum in honor of Martin Luther King Day? We got team coverage this morning. George is standing by with analysis, but we’re going to start here with ABC's David Wright. David, good morning.

DAVID WRIGHT: Good morning, Dan and Paula. Lewis is 1 of 18 members of congress who will not be attending the inaugural. And his decision not to attend getting lots of attention. Here we are the eve of Martin Luther King Day and this icon of the civil rights movement says he doesn't view Donald Trump's presidency as legitimate. Well, Trump blasted back calling Lewis all talk, no action.

[Cuts to video]

Others have called John Lewis the conscience of the Congress. The living link to Dr. King's dream. Lewis still bears the scars from a brutal beating he received crossing the Edmund Pettis Bridge in the march on Selma, 1965, Bloody Sunday. He's been a fighter for civil rights ever since. And yet, when Lewis told an interviewer he's boycotting the inauguration for the first time in three decades –

JOHN LEWIS: I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president.

WRIGHT: Donald Trump went ballistic. Lambasting Lewis as “All talk, talk, talk. No action or results.” And suggesting Lewis “should finally focus on the burning and crime-infested inner cities of the U.S.”

WRIGHT: Cokie Roberts counts herself an admirer and a friend.

COKIE ROBERTS: Donald Trump needs to spend time reaching out to the Americans who did not support him. And an argument with John Lewis is not the way to reach out.

WRIGHT: Tomorrow, as a kickoff for inauguration week, Donald Trump was scheduled to tour the new Smithsonian Museum of African-American Heritage, where several of the exhibits feature Lewis prominently.

[Cuts back to live]

You know, the very existence of that museum is a testament to the idea that John Lewis is not just all talk. He fought hard for it to be built as a separate part of the Smithsonian. And Trump is also wrong in suggesting in his tweets that Lewis' home district is crime-infested, full of urban decay. Georgia's fifth district is also home to—it’s the headquarters for Coca-Cola and Delta, plus its got one of the busiest airports in the America.

HARRIS: At the heart of this dispute between Trump and Lewis is, of course, the issue of Russia. The reason the congressman says he can't support the new president is that he believes Russia helped get Trump elected. And with congress now poised to investigate possible or alleged contacts between the campaign and the Kremlin, ABC’s Alex Marquardt has just arrived in Moscow.

ABC
This Week
January 15, 2017
9:10:17 AM Eastern

REINCE PRIEBUS:  They've [The Obama administration] been nothing but helpful. So, I think the administration can do a lot of good by telling folks that are on their side of the aisle, “Look, we may have lost the election on the Democrat side, but it's time to come together.”

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But isn't it harder to do after a tweet like that from the president-elect?

PRIEBUS: Well wait a second. But George, hang on. John Lewis stood up in an interview and said that Donald Trump was not a legitimate president. That's insanity. And it's wrong. And DNI Director Clapper said as much many, many times. That there is no evidence that any outcome of the election was changed. President-elect Trump won 30 of 50 states. More counties since Ronald Reagan. This man won in an electoral landslide. And to question the legitimacy of the next United States president. And you're worried about a tweet that says, “Hey, why don't you get back to work instead of questioning my legitimacy?” Too bad.


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