Pence: 'The American People Should Be Celebrating the Peaceful Transition of Power'

By Susan Jones | January 16, 2017 | 5:30am EST
Then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence joins Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally in Westfield, Ind., Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (AP File Photo)

( - Reacting to Rep. John Lewis claim that Donald Trump is not a "legitimate president," Vice President-elect Mike Pence said on Sunday, "Donald Trump won this election fair and square, thirty of 50 states, more counties than any Republican since Ronald Reagan, and the American people know that.

"And, while I have great respect for John Lewis and for his contributions, particularly with the civil rights movement, I was deeply disappointed to see someone of his stature question the legitimacy of Donald Trump's election as president and say he's not attending the inauguration, and I hope he reconsiders both positions."

Pence, appearing on "Fox News Sunday," told host Chris Wallace, that Lewis's comments are also disappointing, "because I truly do believe this is a time when the American people should be celebrating the peaceful transition of power. That's what this week is really all about, Chris, and to know that four living presidents will be on the stage acknowledging that peaceful transition of power, the world will be watching, will hear the first remarks that Donald will make as president of the United States in his inaugural address."

Lewis told NBC's "Meet the Press" he thinks "there was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians and others" to hurt Clinton and help Trump get elected.

Pence said he hopes John Lewis and several dozen other Democrats who plan to boycott the inauguration "will rethink that, will be with us and will celebrate this extraordinary moment in the life of our nation and the life of democracy."

As for Trump's tweeted criticism of John Lewis, Pence said, "I think Donald Trump has the right to defend himself."

In a series of tweets on Saturday, Trump said:

"Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to......mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk - no action or results. Sad!"


"Congressman John Lewis should finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner-cities of the U.S. I can use all the help I can get!"

Pence said Trump was talking about "generations of failed policies coming out of Washington, D.C., that have failed too many families and too many cities across this country.

"I will tell you, Donald Trump is a man who is profoundly impatient with failure," Pence continued. "And you saw in the campaign, he went to major cities in this country and said we are going to bring safety to our streets. We're going to bring school choice to our children. We're going to bring jobs and opportunities to our cities.

"You remember that great line "what the heck do you have to lose?" He's committed to being president of all the people in this country and to bring new jobs and prosperity in ways that the failed liberal policies of the last several generations have not."

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