AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER, Associated Press) -- Governor Paul LePage took a swipe at civil rights leader John Lewis Tuesday morning on WVOM Radio for speaking out against President-Elect Donald Trump.
"How about John Lewis, last week?" He asked. "Criticizing the President. I'll just say this. John Lewis ought to look at history."
He went on to say Abraham Lincoln was the one who freed slaves.
"It was Rutherford B. Hayes and Ulysses S. Grant who fought against Jim Crow laws," he said. A simple thank you would suffice."
Lincoln pushed for the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. But historians say that Jim Crow laws didn't exist during the Grant administration and that Hayes' presidency set the stage for the creation of Jim Crow laws.
Lewis was one of the leaders of the civil rights era and suffered a fractured skull while leading the march in Selma, Alabama.
LePage also had harsh words for a Democratic Maine congresswoman, who like Lewis is skipping the inauguration. He said Rep. Chellie Pingree should resign if she doesn't attend.
Phil Bartlett, head of the Maine Democratic Party, released this statement on LePage's remarks:
“Gov. LePage’s comments reflect a profound misunderstanding of history and the crucial role that Rep. John Lewis played in the struggle for civil rights. Gov. Lepage should be calling upon President-Elect Trump to engage with leaders like Chellie Pingree and John Lewis rather than ratcheting up the rhetoric against those willing to stand up for their beliefs.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.