Trump says he won’t go and pay respects to John Lewis at Capitol

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Monday 27 July 2020 19:56 BST
Trump says he won’t go and pay respects to John Lewis at Capitol

Donald Trump, who in recent weeks has stirred racial tensions, says he has no plans to visit the late Congressman John Lewis as the civil rights icon lies in state at the US Capitol.

"No I won't be going," the president said. "No."

The president delivered the news as he left the White House for a trip to North Carolina. As he took reporters' questions, Mr Lewis' casket had just arrived at the Capitol, where a military honour guard carried his American-flag draped casket up the white stairs and into the rotunda.

Gathered were lawmakers from both parties and Mr Lewis' family.

Vice President Mike Pence, a former GOP congressman who served with Mr Lewis is expected to visit the Capitol on Monday night. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Mr Trump's presumptive general election foe and a former US senator, also is expected to pay his respects.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke under the Capitol dome with the casket on a black curtain-covered stand in the centre of the room.

Mr Lewis is among only a handful of African-Americans who ever have lain in state in the building.

Attendees wore masks and sat six feet apart.

Speakers hailed his "good trouble" approach to activism and efforts to keep alive the civil rights movement.

"It is an official, personal and very sad honour to welcome our colleague John Lewis back to the Capitol ... to acknowledge his sacred life," Ms Pelosi said.

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