The Slatest

Today in Conservative Media: Rep. John Lewis’ “Lie”

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., on Wednesday.

Tasos Katopodis/AFP/Getty Images

A daily roundup of the biggest stories in right-wing media.

In the runup to President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, conservative media outlets have zeroed in on planned anti-Trump protests and lawmakers skipping the inauguration.* On Tuesday, one story in particular garnered significant coverage: John Lewis’ decision not to attend. Specifically, conservative media pointed out that Lewis, who said Trump’s swearing in would be the first inauguration he’s missed since being in Congress, also did not attend President George W. Bush’s election in 2001.


“John Lewis didn’t lie when he said he’d never skipped a presidential inauguration as a sitting member of Congress. He just had a brain fart,” wrote the Daily Caller sarcastically in its post, “Whoops! Definitely-Not-Senile John Lewis Says He FORGOT He Boycotted W’s Inauguration.”


National Review also wrote about Lewis’ inauguration history:

Newspapers continue to cite the boycott as an unprecedented act. For example, the Sacramento Bee claimed that the boycott was “breaking with generations of past precedent.” And Business Insider erroneously reported that the 2017 inauguration will be “the first time he [Lewis] will miss an inauguration since 1986,” the year he was elected to Congress. But this isn’t the first time Lewis has boycotted a presidential inauguration. According to a Washington Post article written on January 21, 2001, Lewis and other members of the Black Caucus boycotted George W. Bush’s inauguration because they didn’t “believe Bush is the true elected president.” Lewis spent the day in his Atlanta district.

The story also circulated widely on conservative Facebook pages, like this one:

On Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show on Monday night, Lewis also came under fire, though not for his decision to skip the inauguration. Carlson’s guest Mason Weaver, a former member of the Black Panther movement, said Lewis contributed to the “destruction of black America” and called him an “illegitimate Congressman.” Weaver also said Lewis “collaborated with the Democratic Party to oppress black America.”

*Correction, Jan. 18, 2017: This post originally misstated when Trump’s inauguration will take place. It is Friday, not Saturday.