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Local Congressman defends civil rights leader criticized by President-elect Donald Trump

Congressman Salud Carbajal has strong words for Donald Trump over comments the President-elect made about civil rights leader on Twitter.

“It’s shameful that Donald Trump would have more respect for Vladimir Putin of Russia than an American hero like John Lewis,” said Carbajal.

Rep. Carbajal (D-CA) is serving his first term in Congress representing the 24th Congressional District.

Carbajal expressed support for Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) on Saturday during a celebration for Martin Luther King Jr. in Santa Maria.

On Friday, Lewis said he did not see Trump as a “legitimate president” during a television interview.

Lewis also said he would not attend the inauguration.

Trump’s twitter barbs came on Saturday.

“Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results,” Trump wrote.

“All talk, talk, talk — no action or results,” Trump added. “Sad!”

Trump later added, “Congressman John Lewis should finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner-cities of the U.S. I can use all the help I can get!”

Carbajal said he is now having second thoughts about attending the inauguration on Jan. 20.

“I believe in the peaceful transition of power and for that I was inclined to attend. But, I’m giving it further consideration,” Carbajal said.

Carbajal said it’s also unfortunate Trump made the comments on the weekend leading up to Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Lewis played a key role in the civil rights movement and is one of the original Freedom Riders.

Lewis also marched and worked alongside Dr. King.

“I had the privilege of being with Lewis last week. Congressman Lewis is a great hero,” said Carbajal. “He is a great American who fought for civil rights, somebody who fought to make our country better.”

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