Former President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy at the funeral of John Lewis in Atlanta on Thursday. While paying tribute to the civil rights pioneer at the famed Ebenezer Baptist Church, Obama utilized the widely-viewed platform to take jabs at President Donald Trump.
“As we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations and targeting minorities…even undermining the postal service in the run-up to an election that’s going to be dependent on mail-in ballots so people don’t get sick,” Obama said of mail-in voting, which Trump has been vehemently against.
“George Wallace may be gone, but we can still witness our federal government sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators,” Obama said, referring to the pro-segregation Democratic governor of Alabama in the 1960s.
Dr. Alveda King, the niece of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., ripped Obama for politicizing the Lewis funeral service.
“Well, I guess we should have expected that the Left, including President Obama, would take that occasion for a political moment,” King said during an interview on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” “They’ll grab at any opportunity, that’s to be understood.”
“I have chosen not to politicize the death of congressman Lewis, but to remember him as a peaceful, nonviolent warrior, and encourage everyone to resolve our conflicts peacefully,” King said of Lewis, who at the age of 23 was a keynote speaker at 1963’s March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his powerful “I Have a Dream” speech.
“However, President Obama, with word play, took us back to the 1960’s, and that was a time when segregation was still on the books, segregation was still legal, and those in power, some of them were trying to enforce that and keep that,” King added. “Today, when the National Guard goes in, sent by the president for example, or the state troopers, they’re trying to protect the people of America in every community and to save lives and protect people. There is a totally distinct difference.”
“Also implying without calling any names, he was very clever not to call any names, saying that there was an effort to undermine the voting process,” King said. “You know, actually President Trump is saying, people, please pay attention, we do want you to vote, use your absentee ballots, go to the polls.”
“He’s even encouraged, you know, people to be poll watchers and poll workers and that kind of thing. President Trump is not trying to suppress the vote,” she continued. “As a matter of fact, you can see in my community, I’m telling everybody, make sure you vote, register to vote, pastors and leaders, encourage your people to vote. We do want people to vote safely and we need the voting process to be fair, and so to politicize the funeral of a peaceful warrior, I mean, I guess they grabbed at an opportunity to be political.”