PHOENIX — An Arizona congressman said Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump should be more focused on uniting the country rather than tweeting.
“We can’t govern by tweets,” U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Reality Check with Darin Damme.
Grijalva specifically mentioned Trump’s weekend feud with U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who said he would not attend Trump’s Friday inauguration because he has questions about the legitimacy of last year’s election.
“I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton,” Lewis said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that aired Sunday.
Trump responded on Twitter, saying Lewis — who was jailed numerous times during the fight for civil rights in the 1960s — was “all talk, talk talk — no action or results.”
Grijalva said similar Twitter attacks are a bad look for the president-elect.
“You can’t go after John Lewis and denigrate a whole civil rights legacy just because your thin skin allowed you to do that,” he said.
Grijalva said he wants to see Trump begin showing signs he is ready to unify a divided nation and be a president for all Americans, especially the millions who did not vote in November’s election.
“I feel there was millions and millions of people that did not vote because they blamed both parties … for the situation they were in,” he said.
Last week, Grijalva told House members that he would not attend the inauguration, choosing instead to spend time in his district and let the Trump supporters celebrate. He said the news was met with relative favor by his constituents.
“People have been critical of my decision not to attend the inauguration but, actually, in my district, the support has been pretty good,” he said. “I think people that I represent understand why I’m doing this.”
Grijalva will be joined in his absence by U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), who said Tuesday he would not attend as an act of protest.
In a tweet announcing his decision, Gallego called Trump a bigot, something Grijalva — who made clear his nonattendance was not a protest — stopped short of doing so. However, he did say the president displays some actions of bigotry.
“Based on rhetoric, based on everything he said regarding race, (there is) no understanding, no historical perspective, (just) generalities and throwing red meat out to his base – if you count that as part of a definition, I would count that as bigot behavior,” he said.
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