Florida Senator Rubio Faces Criticism for Confusing John Lewis, Elijah Cummings in Tribute Tweet
Florida Senator Marco Rubio shared a tribute tweet where he wrote his thoughts on the death of civil rights icon Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who died Friday. However, the photo he shared did not show him with Lewis.
"It was an honor to know & be blessed with the opportunity to serve in Congress with John Lewis," the Florida senator wrote Saturday afternoon. "May the Lord grant him eternal peace."
The tribute tweet had a photo that Rubio also used as his profile image, but the photo wasn't him with John Lewis. It was a photo of him with late lawmaker Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died in 2019.
The tweet was later deleted, and Rubio's profile image was also changed, reported Business Insider. This time, the photo that replaced the wrong one is that of him and Lewis.
Lewis died after fighting with Stage IV pancreatic cancer. He was a civil rights icon who served over 30 years in the Congress.
Rubio admitted to the mistake
Rubio acknowledged his mistake in a post later that afternoon.
In a follow-up tweet, he said he "tweeted an incorrect photo" and said he was honored to have appeared with Lewis in Miami three years ago. The tweet had an attached photo of what seems to be a screenshot from a video of them together in the said Miami event.
He, again, honored Lewis and said he was a "genuine American hero."
"Wrong, black guy."
Wesley Lowery, 60 Minutes correspondent, noticed the error and shared a screenshot of the tweet, saying, "Wrong, black guy."
Even when Lewis was still alive, he was often confused with Cummings. In a statement last year, he said someone came up to him at church in Maryland and told him, "Hi, Mr. Cummings! I vote for you all the time".
He simply said thanks to the person as he didn't know what to say. "What else could I say? That's when I decided; I should just grow a beard," he said.
Lewis said it was most probably because both he and Cummings are African American lawmakers who were bald. He jokingly called the confusion "baldist."
It's not just Rubio who made the mistake but also media outlets like CBS News and Fox News. During a segment on Lewis' cancer diagnosis, CBS showed a photo of Cummings instead of Lewis.
Lewis tried to clarify this before, saying Cummings is a good friend, but they're not the same person. He shared that he even considered getting a tattoo on the back of his head "just to clear things up" and tried to convince Cummings to do the same, but it "didn't go over so well."
Cummings also experienced getting lots of pictures from people thinking he was Lewis, USA Today reported. But, just like his look-alike, he spared people the embarrassment of correction.
DeSantis declines to remember Lewis
While Florida officials remember Lewis, Governor Ron DeSantis was asked about Lewis in a news conference, and he declined to answer the reporter's questions.
He said it was off-topic for a news conference about the coronavirus, Tampa Bay Times reported.
But, in the past, the governor has gone off-topic at news conferences about the coronavirus he holds several times a week.
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