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Two Senators Paid Tribute To John Lewis Using Photos Of A Different Black Congressman

Republican senators Marco Rubio and Dan Sullivan both separately posted photos of themselves with the late Rep. Elijah Cummings in their tributes to Lewis.

Last updated on July 19, 2020, at 11:56 a.m. ET

Posted on July 18, 2020, at 7:54 p.m. ET

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Rep. John Lewis at the Academy Awards in 2019.

Two Republican senators who attempted to pay tribute to Rep. John Lewis, who died Friday at 80 years old, instead used a photo of the late Elijah Cummings, a Black member of Congress who died in October last year.

On Saturday afternoon, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted a photo of himself with Cummings, writing in the caption: "It was an honor to know & be blessed with the opportunity to serve in Congress with John Lewis a genuine & historic American hero."

He also made that photo his profile picture on Twitter.

Rubio was widely criticized almost immediately after he posted his tweet.

The levels of disrespect are just off the charts. Marco Rubio needs to delete his whole Twitter not just the tweet after not recognizing the difference between the great Congressman Elijah Cummings and the great John Lewis.

Putting a picture of Elijah Cummings up for your John Lewis statement feels like the ultimate metaphor for what Republicanism is.

Did Marco Rubio find the picture of himself with the correct black man yet?

Rubio later deleted the tweet and posted another saying he had "tweeted an incorrect photo" with a screenshot of himself and Lewis from a video at an event.

Earlier today I tweeted an incorrect photo John Lewis was a genuine American hero I was honored to appear together in Miami 3 years ago at an event captured in video below My God grant him eternal rest https://t.co/aEm4MxKxBP

Hours after Rubio's mistake, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan posted on Facebook a statement about Lewis's death — and like Rubio, Sullivan included a photo of himself with Cummings.

"America has lost a legend with the passing of Congressman John Lewis, of Georgia," he said in his statement.

Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan just did the same thing https://t.co/4Omxeh8np5

Sullivan was also roundly criticized online for mistaking two of his late colleagues with each other.

He has since deleted the Facebook post with Cummings' photo, and a spokesperson for his office told CNN, "Senator Sullivan's staff made a mistake trying to honor an American legend."

Y'all worked w/ both Representatives Lewis and Cummings. This is beyond depressing. It's bad enough to mix up a photo, but you worked w/ them and are IN THESE PHOTOS. If this is a staffer error, you need better, less racist staffers @DanSullivan_AK @marcorubio

Cummings and Lewis were two prominent Black politicians who served in the House for decades. Cummings was elected in 1996 and Lewis in 1986.

Both men were close, and, individually, powerful figures in the Democratic Party. Cummings was a top Democrat who played a central role in President Donald Trump's impeachment proceedings, and Lewis, who was a leader in the civil rights movement in the '60s, continued championing justice and equality as a member of Congres.

Congressman John Lewis & me on the way to South Africa to honor Madiba's life

They had also joked about people mistaking them for each other in the past. Lewis once released a statement saying he plans to grow a beard "in an attempt to avoid being repeatedly mistaken for Rep. Elijah Cummings."

And in an interview for a documentary about Lewis's life, Good Trouble, Cummings talked about strangers who approached him assuming he was Lewis.

"But you know what," he said, "I am so glad that they'd mistake me for a great man."

Sullivan and Rubio, however, had both served in Congress alongside them for years.

Elijah Cummings and John Lewis got confused with each other a lot. Lewis once released an April Fool’s press release about getting his head tattooed so they would be easier to tell apart. However, Marco Rubio was in Congress with them for a decade. This is fucking embarrassing.


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