Rep. Steve King: John Lewis trades on status as civil rights icon, hasn't contributed since

Rep. John Lewis returns to the Edmund Pettus Bridge
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Story highlights

  • Iowa Rep. Steve King said Tuesday that Georgia Rep. John Lewis trades on his status as a civil rights icon.
  • As a civil rights leader in 1965, Lewis was beaten by Alabama state troopers in Selma, Alabama during the march to Montgomery.

(CNN)Iowa Rep. Steve King said Tuesday that Georgia Rep. John Lewis trades on his status as a civil rights icon and hasn't contributed anything since then.

King made the comments on "Mickelson in the Morning" on WHO Iowa radio amid a discussion of Lewis' remark last week that Donald Trump was not a "legitimate" President. Trump responded by tweeting that Lewis, who was "All talk, talk, talk - no action or results."
"I've served with John Lewis now for quite some time," King, a Republican, said of Lewis, a Democrat. "And we don't really always, I don't know that we've ever found ourselves where we've been working together on legislation in that way. But I have long contemplated the idea of just going to the floor and saying, 'John Lewis, thank you for your contribution to civil rights during the civil rights era. I would appreciate it if you would contribute something since then. It's been a half a century.' And a number of us have watched that and said, 'He trades off of it.' And I guess that's fine. But he should be doing some other things too. And I haven't seen it happen from him."
As a civil rights leader in 1965, Lewis was beaten by Alabama state troopers in Selma, Alabama during the march to Montgomery.
In Tuesday's radio interview, King also criticized the Congressional Black Caucus, of which Lewis is a member, saying that Lewis is partly "the voice of the Congressional Black Caucus." He repeated past comments in calling it "the self-segregating caucus."
"Here's what I want to say to people about, this is the, part of it, it's the voice of the Congressional Black Caucus," the Iowa congressman said. "And when they formed the Congressional Black Caucus back years ago, in the aftermath or in the beginning of the civil rights movement, the shape of that, I looked at that even then and I thought, 'How can you form a caucus that's established on race?' But they did and they got away with it because people didn't want it challenged. And now, the Congressional Black Caucus, I just openly say, they're the self-segregating caucus."
King finished the comments by giving his assessment of the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I mean, the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., as yesterday we celebrated his birthday, wasn't about segregation, it was about desegregation," he said. "But now they self-segregate and use the vehicle they created that's the self-segregating caucus in order to advance a leftist political agenda that is not at all reflective of Martin Luther King's memory. He wanted equal opportunity and they don't advocate for equal opportunity, they're advocating for special privileges and immunity from the responsibilities that other citizens have to carry."