Much has been said of John Lewis’ decision to skip the inauguration, and particularly the use of the word illegitimate.

In addition to President-elect Trump’s caustic, degrading tweets about Rep. Lewis and Atlanta, his spokesmen went to great pains to reiterate that the Russians did not tamper with any voting machines.

This Trumpian bait-and-switch intentionally misses the point.

    • Candidate Trump began his campaign, not at the escalator, but in 2011 when he declared to the world that the first African-American President was not born in Hawaii but Kenya. He repeatedly boasted of operatives who would reveal troubling facts, which never materialized.  In other words, pre-candidate Trump begin his political adventure with a dishonest and illegitimate claim, supported by lies.

    • Descending his escalator among paid actors pretending to be supporters, he was clearly the “birther-in-chief”, looking to build a campaign based on racist remarks and fear. His derogatory attack on “Mexican” immigrants was heard clearly by the Latino and other communities, who were shocked by his unfair stereotyping.

    • In order to defame Muslim Americans, candidate Trump claimed to have witnessed “thousands and thousands” of Muslims celebrating the destruction of the World Trade Center – clearly untrue, but useful for his illegitimate aims.

    • When Senator John McCain dared to disagree with him, candidate Trump called into question the sacrifice of one who will carry the effects of his imprisonment and torture to his grave, Trump preferring those who didn’t get captured – and in so doing made illegitimate any claim of support of American vets. (Shall we even mention his despicable behavior against a Gold-Star Family, or his bogus fund-raiser for a veteran’s group who had no members?)

    • When his Trump University was under investigation and the object of lawsuits, candidate Trump challenged the propriety of a judge to hear his case, because “he was Mexican.” This was contempt of court, specifically of an American born judge of distinction.

    • When candidate Trump referred to his embarrassingly crude and vulgar remarks involving his right to grope women at will, he dismissed the ten year video as mere “locker-room talk” of a 60 year old man.

    • When the hacking of the Democratic computers was rightly attributed to Russia, candidate and later President-elect Trump insisted that he knew better than an untrustworthy intelligence community, while he benefited daily from the publication of stolen emails. Showing no concern that a foreign power had committed “cyber Watergate”, candidate Trump actually called on Russia to find and disclose additional emails and he continued to laud the Russian dictator. 

Congressman Lewis’ statements followed a classified briefing in which he apparently learned that the FBI was quietly investigating any connections between Trump and Russia, while making continued public references to their off-again on-again investigation about Hillary Clinton’s emails.

For Congressman Lewis, clearly incensed by candidate Trump’s daily “Lock-Her-Up” rhetoric, these new revelations confirmed his belief that Donald Trump became president by illegitimate means.

President Trump is obviously an extension of candidate Trump and president-elect Trump.

  • When the media dared to compare 2008 and 2016 inauguration crowd sizes in the side-by-side photos, President Trump went ballistic. Carrying his constant attack against news media before CIA workers, he charged the press with dishonesty while making false statements about both his earlier feud with the intelligence community, and about the size of his inauguration crowd.

  • President Trump dispatched his press secretary to scold a White-House press corps, while demanding that they accept his false assertions regarding the inauguration numbers.

  • Still not satisfied, President Trump dispatched his spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway on Sunday to try to deflect attention from his illegitimate handling of the press.

  • After repeatedly asking why President Trump would send out Sean Spicer to attack the press with his demonstrably false claims, Meet the Press host, Chuck Todd was accused of being dramatic, and warned with “I think that we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here” and finally was told that Sean Spicer had “alternative facts”.

“Alternative facts! … Look, alternative facts are not facts. They’re falsehoods.”  Chuck Todd’s response is exactly the point.

  • On his third full day as president, amid his meetings with business and labor as well as congressional members, President Trump managed to find time to address the 2.9 million vote disparity between the popular and the electoral vote, asserting that millions of undocumented immigrants cast those votes. This claim previously earned him Politifact’s Pants-on-Fire classification, reserved for a statement which “is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.

  • On the fourth full day of the Trump presidency, Shawn Spicer supported the president’s claim with a complete distortion of information contained in a report designed to make the voting process more efficient and less costly. (

Without a doubt, Donald Trump received more electoral votes than Hillary Clinton. Voting machines were not tampered with. There was no voter fraud. He is the legal president.

But is he legitimate? Basing a campaign on lies, and now clearly putting his new administration on the same foundation of falsehood and bluster, he may be seen as the most illegitimate president ever legally elected.

About Larry Eppley

Larry Eppley's background is diverse. A former pulpit minister, he was a real estate agent before spending about ten years as a computer software trainer and IT support specialist. Now retired, he teaches English as Second Language classes for Spanish speakers, as well as a weekly bilingual Bible class.


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