Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis says Trump isn't a "legitimate president"

In this Sept. 19, 2016 file photo, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., reacts after being presented with the Liberty Medal for his dedication to civil rights during a ceremony in Philadelphia. Novels by Colson Whitehead and Jacqueline Woodson and a graphic novel by Lewis are among the finalists announced Thursday, Oct. 6, for the National Book Award. Lewis, the longtime Georgia congressman, is in the young people’s literature category for “March: Book Three,” the last of a trilogy based on his years in the civil rights movement. 

Matt Slocum/AP

Rep. John Lewis said in an interview that will air Sunday that President-elect Donald Trump is not a “legitimate president” and said he doesn’t plan to attend the Inauguration next Friday.

Speaking to NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, the Georgia Democrat and civil rights icon was asked if he plans to forge a relationship with Mr. Trump.

“You know, I believe in forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with people. It will be hard. It’s going to be very difficult. I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” Lewis said in an excerpt released Friday.

Lewis, 76, was asked again if he considers Mr. Trump a legitimate president and why he feels that way.

“No,” he replied. “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I don’t plan to attend the inauguration. It will be the first one that I miss since I’ve been in the Congress. You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong, is not right.”

Lewis added, “I think there was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians and others to help him get elected. That’s not right. That’s not fair. That’s not the open, Democratic process.”

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.