In a social media post to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Michelle Obama has offered words of praise for Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, who is currently embattled in a war of words with President-elect Donald Trump.
On Jan. 16, the national holiday marking the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the outgoing first lady issued a statement commending Lewis via her official Twitter account.
"Thinking of Dr. King and great leaders like @repjohnlewis who carry on his legacy," Obama tweeted out. "May their example be our call to action."
Obama's tweet arrived after a weekend of high-profile controversy between Lewis and Trump. The verbal battle between the civil rights icon and the president-elect kicked off when Lewis stated that he did not believe Trump was a legitimate president.
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On Jan. 13, Lewis told NBC News that he would not attend Trump's inauguration because he believed that the president-elect's campaign had been aided by the Russian government.
"I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president," Lewis said. The Georgia lawmaker added: "I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton."
On Jan. 14, Trump took to his Twitter account to blast Lewis for his comments.
"Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results" Trump tweeted out.
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The president-elect added that he believed Lewis was "All talk, talk, talk -- no action or results. Sad!"
Lewis, who represents a predominantly African-American district that encompasses the city of Atlanta, was a leader of the civil rights movement in the 1960s and a colleague of Dr. King.
On Jan. 15, Vice President-elect Mike Pence offered a more diplomatic condemnation of Lewis' remarks and expressed his hope that the Georgia lawmaker would attend the inauguration.
"While I have great respect for John Lewis and for his contributions, particularly to the civil rights movement, I was deeply disappointed to see someone of his stature question the legitimacy of Donald Trump's presidency and to hear him say he was not attending the inauguration," Pence told Fox News. "I hope he reconsiders."
On Jan. 16, Lewis appeared to brush aside the controversy between him and Trump during his remarks at the 5,000 Role Models of Excellence Project's annual scholarship breakfast in Miami, where he told attendees that they must advocate for what they believe is right.
"The way of love is a better way, the way of peace is a better way … When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something, to say something and not be quiet," Lewis said.