President-elect Donald Trump has feuded with several prominent institutions and people, but few of his rifts have resonated quite like his high-profile war of words with civil-rights icon Rep. John Lewis.
Trump recently unleashed a torrent of insults directed at Lewis and his Georgia district after the congressman questioned his legitimacy as president amid intelligence community reports that the Russia government conspired to elect him.
The world of late night comedy — which had already scored plenty of laughs at Trump's expense — found plenty of fodder in the president-elect's penchant for picking on people with considerably less power.
"Our soon-to-be president is still tweeting. I think that's all he's going to do as president," joked Conan O'Brien during his opening monologue on Monday.
"Over the weekend Donald Trump sent out angry tweets blasting civil rights icon John Lewis," he continued. "So I guess we all celebrate Martin Luther King Day differently ... unbelievable."
"Daily Show" show host Trevor Noah said: “You’re calling a civil rights hero who marched in Selma with Martin Luther King, Jr. ‘all talk, no action’? Saying John Lewis isn’t a ‘man of action’ is like me saying Donald Trump is all tax returns, no tweets.”
“Trump spent the Martin Luther King Weekend attacking a civil rights leader who marched and was beaten with Dr. King,” "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert said on Monday during his monologue. “What’s he going to do on Easter? ‘Loser Jesus dead for three days and then we’re supposed to believe he just wakes up? Fake news. I like gods who don’t die. Where’s the rebirth certificate?'”
After repeating Trump's insult that Lewis was "all talk" and "no action," Colbert joked: “Yes, well said. John Lewis is all ‘talk, talk, talk.’ Unlike a real leader like Trump who’s all tweet, tweet, tweet.”
Meanwhile, NBC's Seth Meyers, who has been one of the harshest critics of Trump in all of late night, also took the president-elect to task for punching down at the Democratic Congressman in one of his signature "A Closer Look" segments:
“If you’re wondering whether it’s racist to assume Lewis’ district is ‘crime-infested and falling apart’ just because he’s black, the answer is a hard yes,” Meyers said of Trump's polarizing tweet referencing the 5th district in Georgia, which includes part of the Atlanta metro area.
“Of course, as usual, Trump isn’t even being consistent," Meyers added. "He felt a little differently about Lewis’ district, which includes most of Atlanta, back in 2006 when he wanted to build a high-rise there, saying, ‘It’s a great location in a great city, I’ve loved Atlanta for years.’ I guess I’m not surprised; Trump changes positions more often than a porn star with a bad back.”
Meyers also mocked Pence for trying to diminish Trump's attacks by saying he posted the controversial tweet "late last night," when in reality it was published at 7:22 p.m, and the claim made by several prominent Republicans that no one on their side of the aisle questioned President Barack Obama's legitimacy when he was first elected in 2008, completely overlooking the "birther movement," which Trump championed for years.
“What kind of morally bankrupt person would question the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s presidency? You’ll never guess,” Meyers said as a photo of Trump appeared to his left. “Oh, you guessed already? How fast did you guess? Was it right away, like before I even asked? You guessed right away, right?”
Still, the jokes at his expense — and widespread criticism from Republicans and Democrats — has not stopped Trump from targeting the nearly 77-year-old Lewis for attack.
On Tuesday, he reiterated a critique of Lewis that has gathered steam in conservative circles, that he also boycotted George W. Bush's inaugural in 2001, following the contentious recount in the 2000 race.
"John Lewis said about my inauguration, "It will be the first one that I've missed." WRONG (or lie)! He boycotted Bush 43 also because he thought it would be hypocritical to attend Bush's swearing-in...he doesn't believe Bush is the true elected president." Sound familiar! WP," Trump tweeted in reference to a 2001 Washington Post article which confirmed Lewis' absence that year.
However, Lewis spokesperson Brenda Jones told NBC News Monday that while Lewis did choose not to attend Bush's inaugural in 2001 it "was also a form of dissent."
"He did not believe the outcome of that election, including the controversies around the results in Florida and the unprecedented intervention of the US Supreme Court, reflected a free, fair and open democratic process," said Jones.