Rep. Karen Bass speaks during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 on Capitol Hill. | AP Photo
After urging President Donald Trump on Saturday to remain silent on the death of Rep. John Lewis, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass said flags must remain lowered until Lewis is laid to rest.
“My concern — and I’m glad that the president’s tweet was appropriate after mine — but I think that we need to have the flags at half-mast until he is laid to rest. And I believe that his legacy will live on,” Bass (D-Calif.) said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
Bass tweeted at Trump to not comment on the life of Lewis and let others “mourn in peace.” Trump did later tweet about Lewis’ death on Saturday: “Saddened to hear the news of civil rights hero John Lewis passing. Melania and I send our prayers to he and his family.“
Lewis often sparred with Trump and didn’t attend his inauguration. “I think he is a racist,” Lewis said of the president in January 2018.
“We need to continue that fight for social justice,” Bass said in her Sunday interview. “And again, the first thing we need to do is to pass the Voting Rights Act and get it signed, because we’re very concerned about the election coming up and voter suppression, and the fact that people are going to have to vote in dangerous conditions. They need to be able to vote from home.”
Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) also fondly recalled the late congressman, remembering him when she was a child in the ’60s.
“I was in awe of him as a young child growing up in the ’60s,” Demings said. “My parents were very tuned in. But I was also in awe of him until the day he died. He was powerful. He was larger than life. He was beloved. But the thing I remember so much about him is that he was so humble.”