Fox News contributor Juan Williams delivered a message for Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) on “The Laura Ingraham Show” Monday: All Democratic members of Congress should “celebrate America” and attend President-Elect Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday.
Williams, a liberal columnist and co-host of Fox News’ “The Five,” addressed the Lewis-Trump feud that has been raging ever since the Georgia Democrat said during an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that he didn’t view Trump as a “legitimate” president. Lewis, as well as at least 20 other Democratic congresspeople, subsequently announced that they will not be attending the inauguration.
“Even as you have points of political difference, let’s stay Americans first.”
“I would say this: that you’ve got to be a patriot,” Williams told LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham. “You’ve got to be acknowledging that the peaceful transfer of power is worthy of your celebration. It’s what makes us, as Americans, special.”
“I think that Donald Trump is going to be the commander-in-chief of our military. He’s going to be the chief executive of the government. To me, you are locked into anger and dysfunction if you can’t acknowledge reality and start to deal with reality, and, in fact, try to shape reality going forward, build relationships,” Williams added.
Williams acknowledged the worsening state of race relations in the U.S. during the past eight years under President Obama’s administration. And after an especially bitter 2016 presidential election between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Williams said that the black community is struggling with how to respond.
“A lot of the black congresspeople are saying, ‘You know, we can’t take it. The FBI interference, the Russian interference, the popular vote, all of that.’ And I think, you know what? This is not workable. This in fact, I think, worsens race relations because now politics get involved with it,” Williams said, adding that it is “more difficult to talk across racial lines” when the black community so overwhelmingly voted for Clinton — not for Trump.
Former congressman and retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Allen West noted that Lewis, a civil rights icon in his own right, has spent his life fighting for the rights for all Americans — a truly patriotic cause. Urging Lewis to put his differences with Trump aside for the good of the country, West asked Lewis to reconsider his decision to boycott the inauguration.
“So, I would hope that maybe John Lewis could, you know, sit down in retrospect,” West told Ingraham. “He was my congressional representative as I was growing up. He would look at all of these things that were truly plaguing the black community — and not just spout the, you know, Democrat talking points.”
Williams urged the black community and the Democratic Congress members planning on abstaining from the Inauguration Day proceedings to reconsider their views.
“In much the way that I root for America, I root for Donald Trump’s presidency,” Williams said. “I hope that he — if he can do good things, it’s not only black people who will have to stop and say thank you, but I think America will be like, ‘Yeah, you know what? … It’s worked.’ Wouldn’t that be good news?”
To Lewis and the Democratic politicians, Williams offered a final message.
“I would tell them that, you know what? The idea of social progress, the idea of the state of black America in terms of the tremendous civil rights movement, would not have been possible in any other country. That we in America do still celebrate the Founding Fathers’ creed that ‘all men are created equal,'” Williams said. “We have not yet reached that point of perfection, but we aspire to it and we work at it. It’s possible in this country.”
“And we should celebrate America, celebrate the peaceful transfer of power on Inauguration Day, and look to work to make American be America for all of its people. Even as you have points of political difference, let’s stay Americans first.”