This morning, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza covered the latest revelation involving John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat and civil-rights leader, who has publicly announced plans to boycott President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday. The revelation? Lewis had told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that he had attended every inauguration since 1986 (the year he was elected to Congress), but a 2001 Washington Post article revealed that he boycotted George W. Bush’s first inauguration, too.
Lewis’s staff claims that Lewis didn’t lie; he simply “forgot.” Even Cillizza — usually seen as fairly center of the road — attributed Lewis’s erroneous claim that he attended the past seven inaugurations to “forgetfulness,” chalking up Lewis’s lapse as only a “memory glitch.”
“His absence at that time was also a form of dissent,” Lewis’s spokeswoman Brenda Jones explained. “He did not believe the outcome of that election, including the controversies around the results in Florida and the unprecedented intervention of the U.S. Supreme Court.”
But Cillizza also pointed out that as a Georgia representative, Lewis has only witnessed the peaceful transition of power to a Republican president once: George H. W. Bush’s inauguration in 1988. In other words, Lewis skipped not only George W. Bush’s first inauguration in 2001 because he questioned the legitimacy of that election, he also skipped Bush’s second inauguration in 2005. (In 2005, Lewis also supported the idea of impeaching Bush.)
How can Lewis truly claim to have forgotten which Republican inaugurations he has been to, if he’s only attended one in his life?