Trump and Racism: Reps. John Lewis and Maxine Waters to Boycott the...

Trump and Racism: Reps. John Lewis and Maxine Waters to Boycott the State of the Union


Civil Rights legend and Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) announced he will not attend the State of the Union on January 30th.  

Reps. Maxine Waters (D-CA) had already announced she would not attend.  Waters was joined by Rep. Lewis and Florida Democrat Frederica Wilson.

“I think he is a racist,” Lewis, said on ABC the weekend after Donald Trump’s latest controversy regarding a bigoted statement against black and brown people.

On January 15, the Martin Luther King holiday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) announced she will boycott the State of the Union as well. She is the fifth member of Congress to announce she will not attend.  There is sure to be more who announce they will not attend. 

“I think it is absolutely unacceptable to see the racism and the hatred coming out the White House in a way in which this president is fueling the flames of divisiveness across our country,” she added. 

The members are protesting Trump in the wake of his remarks during a White House meeting in which several who attended the meetings relay that Trump called several nations “shithole countries.”

The White House meeting was focused on immigration and which individuals from which countries the U.S. should allowed to immigrate to the United States. Trump was referring to Haiti and African countries, according to those attending the meeting.  Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin told reporters that Trump referred to Haiti and African countries as “shithole countries” and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham reconfirmed that Trump made the shocking statement. 

On January 14, Rep. Lewis said “I don’t think there’s any way that you can square what the president said with the words of Martin Luther King Jr. and what he said about Dr. King. It’s just impossible. There’s not any way you can do that. It’s unreal. It’s unbelievable. It makes me sad. It makes me cry.”

“We have come so far. We made so much progress,” Lewis continued. “And I think this man, this president, is taking us back to another place.”

A group of women in the House, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) plan to wear all black as a statement against sexual harassment and in honor of sexual harassment victims in deference to the “Me Too” movement.

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Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is a writer, comms strategist and political analyst. She created Crewof42, a blog focused on African American members of Congress, in 2009. Ms. Burke also writes for NBC BLK, The Root, NNPA and is the Managing Editor of Politic365. As part of a diverse career in politics and media, she has served as a congressional staffer for the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee, Communications Director for U.S. Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) and Director of Communications for Justin Fairfax for Lt. Governor of Virginia. From 2014 to 2017, Ms. Burke appeared each Monday on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin on TVOne. Ms. Burke holds a B.A. in History from The American University. She was born and raised in New York. Email: Twitter: @LVBurke. IG: @laurenvburke. Periscope: @LVBurke


  1. From you in 2011…. The disrespect isn’t that probable one term Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL) wouldn’t attend the President’s Sept. 8 speech. The disrespect is that Rep. Walsh actually believed that everyone knowing he wasn’t attending was important. That he needed to announce he would not attend on national television, as if anyone cared, was yet another delusional superiority episode. That proudly showing public disrespect towards the President is a winning strategy in some political circles reveals a lot.