CNN pro-Trump contributor criticizes civil rights icon John Lewis for not educating Trump about civil rights

CNN pro-Trump contributor criticizes civil rights icon John Lewis for not educating Trump about civil rights

Ben Ferguson: "It's a bad political stunt. And it divides people"

Video ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

From the December 8 edition of CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin:

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BROOKE BALDWIN (HOST): Should Congressman [John] Lewis (D-GA) be boycotting this opening, do you think?

JOSHUA DUBOIS: Well, listen, if there is there anyone in American public life who deserves to have us trust their judgment about what's right and what's wrong, it has got to be Congressman John Lewis. This is a history museum, and we've got to to remember our history here. I know you know these things, but we've got to recall, this was man who, along with Diane Nash and James Bevel and the rest, started the sit-in movements in Nashville, TN in 1960. He was one of the original 13 freedom riders. When folks marched across the Edmund Pettus bridge and were met in the face with the opposition of 150 police officers, it was John Lewis who had his skull fractured in that March. And didn't stop there. He's done this for decades, building up his moral credibility. He's saying, "listen, there's just something that I don't feel is right about standing next to president who I believe is destructive on civil rights." And if the man is saying that, I think we deserve to not necessarily question John Lewis but question what it is about President Trump that makes him feel that way. 

BALDWIN: Ben Ferguson, how do you feel?

BEN FERGUSON: Yeah, I think it's a big missed opportunity for Representative Lewis. I have a lot of respect for what he has done in his career, but I'll quote the NAACP chairman in Tennessee who said, "If your job is to get people to understand a different perspective, and you think the person [who] needs a different perspective is the president, and he's willing to be in the same room with you and listen to your speech, you take that opportunity to bring people together, not to divide them." Unfortunately, I think Representative Lewis looked at this as a political opportunity to kind of make it -- do a stunt against Donald Trump. And that's personal. That doesn't help with the conversation on civil rights or racism or anything else in this country. The bottom line is, the president's the most powerful man in the world. And if you feel like his viewpoint needs to change, why would you not take an opportunity where he's going to be sitting next to you to use your influence, your history, your credibility, your story to influence the president of the United States of America? And there's a lot of people, including the ACLU local chapters and the NAACP local chapters who have both come out and said they think it's appropriate for the president to be there and that you should take this opportunity to not boycott him but to actually try to get him to try to understand your perspective. And he missed it for one reason: A political stunt. And it's a bad political stunt. And it divides people and doesn't bring them together, which I thought was the entire purpose of the museum. 

Related:

NY TimesIf Trump goes, John Lewis will skip Mississippi Civil Rights Museum opening

Previously:

CNN's Ben Ferguson questions whether protesting NFL players "are even registered to vote"

The only people supporting Trump's anti-Muslim tweets are racists, fascists, bigots, and CNN contributors

CNN contributor Ed Martin: Trump's attack on LaVar Ball isn't a "racial thing" because he also attacks Jeff Flake

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