Democratic Rep. John Lewis questioned Bernie Sanders’ participation in the civil rights movement after speaking at an event where the Congressional Black Caucus PAC endorsed Hillary Clinton. The Inquisitr reported earlier on Lewis’ apparent doubts about Sanders’ work in the movement, but now, media reports are questioning Lewis’ public statements about both Bill and Hillary Clinton and Sanders’ history in the civil rights movement.
Sanders has a documented history of civil rights activism at the University of Chicago in the early 1960’s when John Lewis was a civil rights icon and leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Lewis said this week while endorsing Clinton that he never saw nor met Bernie Sanders during that time, according to CNN.
“I never saw him. I never met him,” Rep. John Lewis said as seen in the video above. “I was chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for three years, from 1963 to 1966. I was involved with the sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery and directed voter education project for six years, but I met Hillary Clinton. I met President (Bill) Clinton.”
Lewis temporarily endorsed Clinton in her 2008 race for POTUS, but he backed out of his endorsement in favor of Obama. Lewis said then, as a super-delegate for the Democratic party and as a leader in the House of Representatives, that his job was to help the will of the people prosper and grow, according to a 2008 CNN report. At that time, Lewis did say that he had “a deep and abiding love” for his friends Hillary and Bill Clinton.
Now, some media reports are blasting Hillary Clinton because she supported Barry Goldwater’s run for the presidency in 1964. Goldwater had promised to support segregation, but Clinton was only a high school senior in 1964 when she supported Goldwater. She says that she began to have doubts about Goldwater and his extreme conservatism before she left high school, according to Fact Check.
Although after high school, Hillary Clinton was an intern for the Republican leader of the House Gerald Ford, and she attended the 1968 Republican convention to support Nelson Rockefeller’s unsuccessful effort to get the Republican presidential nomination, she had mostly completed her transformation into a Democrat during her Wellesley College years, around the time of the death of Martin Luther King Jr..
A bold accusation by Daily Kos even questioned whether Lewis lied on camera while endorsing Clinton.
As evidence of the alleged lie, the Daily Kos report stated that Lewis contributed a section to a book entitled “Conversations: William Jefferson Clinton, from Hope to Harlem” from 2001. In that book, Lewis wrote of the first time he had even heard of Bill Clinton.
“The first time I heard of Bill Clinton was in the early 70s. I was living in Georgia, working for the Southern Poverty Law organization, when someone told me about this young, emerging leader in Arkansas who served as attorney general, then later became governor.”
In that excerpt, Lewis also recalled the first time he met Clinton.
“I think I paid more attention to him at the 1988 Democratic Convention, when he was asked to introduce the presidential candidate and took up far more time than was allotted to him. After he became involved with the Democratic Leadership Council, I would run into him from time to time. But it was one of his aides, Rodney Slater, who actually introduced us in 1991 and asked me if I would support his presidency.”
The article points to Rep. John Lewis’ perceived-inaccuracy while endorsing Hillary Clinton on camera.
“At the Congressional Black Caucus event on Thursday, he insinuated that he had ‘met’ both Clintons in the 1960s civil rights era but here he says that he ran into Clinton from time to time ‘after he became involved with the Democratic Leadership Council.’ Well, the Democratic Leadership Council was a non-profit organization founded in 1985. So, it appears that the earliest that Lewis could have ‘met’ or ‘run into’ Bill Clinton would have been 1985.”
It could be noted that when Rep. John Lewis spoke this week of meeting Hillary and Bill Clinton, he did not specify when he met them, Lewis’ supporters say. While the hurried response made it seem to many that Lewis was insinuating that he met Hillary and Bill Clinton during the early 60’s (which would have been when they were still in high school), Lewis’ supporters say he could have only been suggesting that he had met Hillary and Bill Clinton during his lifetime many times.
While Rep. Lewis may have never met Bernie Sanders in the 1960’s, old media clippings provide evidence for Bernie Sanders’ civil rights activism, such as the image below of Sanders at a sit-in opposing segregation in 1962 as a leader of the Congress of Racial Equality.
— Mimosas In Provy (@mimosasblog) February 11, 2016
Still, despite Lewis’ alleged doubts, there is irrefutable newspaper proof that Bernie Sanders was active in the early civil rights movement, but most of Sanders’ work was with the campus chapter of CORE. According to NPR, Sanders was actually an organizer for the SNCC and participated in the March on Washington in 1963 when he was only 22-years-old.
Bernie Sanders, leader of Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) organizing a housing segregation sit-in in Chicago, 1962 pic.twitter.com/06HS1vfFnY
— MAINE GRETZKY (@juermaine) August 9, 2015
— DENALI (@timothypmurphy) February 11, 2016
As one of two students from CORE appointed to a commission to study the school’s segregated housing policies, a young Bernie Sanders wrote an open letter in the student newspaper when desegregation wasn’t happening as quickly as agreed upon, according to Mother Jones.
That same year, Sanders was arrested after protesting segregation at a school on the Chicago’s South Side.