He respects the position so much he boycotted George W. Bush and Trump’s inauguration.
HARWOOD: You hear some Republicans say, “Hey, this president promised to bring the country together but he’s actually made it more divided by how he has governed.” What do you say to that?
LEWIS: I don’t think he made it worse. I think there were people because of his election made a conscious decision and said that, “We will not give him a victory. We will not let him succeed.” It was the Republican leadership, on the House side as well as the Senate side.
I think Obama’s been treated differently because of his race. I really believe that. You wouldn’t hear, with a white Democrat or white Republican speaking, someone holler out, “You lie.” You wouldn’t have a governor putting her finger in the face of a white president like the governor of Arizona did. There have been visible signs of disrespect for the man. And I’ve always said if you don’t respect the man, respect the position.
When the president saw me during the evening of the State of the Union as we’re walking down the aisle, he said, “John Lewis, I love you.” I said, “Mr. President, I love you, too.”