John Lewis Burns Bernie On Civil Rights: 'I Never Saw Him'

After endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, John Lewis stated that he never met Bernie Sanders during civil rights rallies and events in the 1960s.

Prominent civil rights leader John Lewis attempted to discredit Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ civil rights record by claiming he never saw the socialist candidate at anti-racism rallies during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

Sanders was an organizer with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and attended the March on Washington in 1963, but Lewis disputes that fact.

"I never saw him, I never met him. I was chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for three years -- 1963 to 1966," he said on Thursday. "I was involved in the sit-ins, the freedom rides, the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery. I directed the board of education project for six years. I met Hillary Clinton. I met President Clinton." 

Lewis’ remarks coincide with the Congressional Black Caucus PAC’s endorsement of Democratic establishment candidate Hillary Clinton, as both candidates compete for voters of color and sorely try to out-progressive each other.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-M.N.) tweeted that the PAC’s endorsement of Clinton did not speak for all members of the CBC, since only 20 board members of the PAC actually voted on the endorsement.

According to The Intercept, “The board includes 11 lobbyists, seven elected officials, and two officials who work for the PAC. Branch confirmed that the lobbyists were involved in the endorsement, but would not go into detail about the process.”

Social media users were divided on the civil rights icon’s harsh condemnation.

Some users were disappointed in Lewis’ statement and suggested that there is a large possibility he didn’t meet every person involved in the movement. They also noted that Lewis could not have met Clinton during that era of the civil rights movement—at the time, Clinton was a young student volunteering for Barry Goldwater, a Republican who wanted to “re-segregate” America. Sanders was actually arrested for his involvement.

Yet others sided with Lewis and chastised Sanders’ supporters for allegedly accusing a man beaten for his crucial actions against injustice of “selling out.”

It will certainly be interesting to see how this battle over Sanders’ civil rights records will be addressed during tonight’s Democratic debate.  

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