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What I Learned – Marco Rubio And Dan Sullivan’s John Lewis Tribute Posts Used Elijah Cummings’ Photo
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Republican senators Marco Rubio and Dan Sullivan both separately posted photos of themselves with the late Rep. Elijah Cummings in their tributes to Lewis.
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 congressman 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.
Rubio later deleted the tweet and posted another saying he “tweeted an incorrect photo” with a screenshot of him and Lewis from a video at an event.
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.
Sullivan was also roundly criticized online for mistaking two of his late colleagues with each other. He did not acknowledge his error publicly, but has since deleted the Facebook post with Cummings’ photo.
Cummings and Lewis were two prominent Black congressman 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 congressman.
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 the 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, have both served in Congress alongside them for years.