Marco Rubio confused Rep. John Lewis for another late black lawmaker in a tweet honoring the 'historic American hero'
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on Saturday in a since-deleted tweet shared a photo of himself with the late Rep. Elijah Cummings when honoring Rep. John Lewis, who died Friday. The two lawmakers had frequently been confused for one another during their lifetimes, so much so that Lewis in 2019 joked he would grow a beard to differentiate himself from Cummings. Lewis, a civil rights icon, died Friday at the age of 80 after a bout with Stage IV pancreatic cancer.
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Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on Saturday in a tweet shared his thoughts about the death of civil rights icon, Georgia Rep. John Lewis who died Friday after a bout with Stage IV pancreatic cancer. "It was an honor to know & be blessed with the opportunity to serve in Congress with JohnLewis a genuine & historic American hero. May the Lord grant him eternal peace," the Florida Republican wrote in a tweet Saturday afternoon. But as many on Twitter were quick to point out, the picture the Florida senator shared did not show him with Lewis, but instead with another late Black lawmaker — Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings who died unexpectedly in October 2019 at the age of 68. The photo was even briefly Rubio's profile image on Twitter before it along with his tweet disappeared.
Rubio's apparent flub was not the first time that the two late congressmen had been confused for one another. The two African American legislators had been mistaken for each other so much that in an April 2019 press release, Lewis wrote that he was considering growing a beard to set him apart from his colleague from Maryland. In a follow-up tweet, Rubio acknowledged he "tweeted an incorrect photo" and shared what appears to be a screenshot image of himself with Lewis from 2017 appearance in Miami.
Earlier today I tweeted an incorrect photo John Lewis was a genuine American heroI was honored to appear together in Miami 3 years ago at an event captured in video belowMy God grant him eternal resthttps://t.co/aEm4MxKxBP pic.twitter.com/0UpWSG3vNQ — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 18, 2020
"Just this weekend, I went to church in Maryland," Lewis said in a statement last year. "Someone came up to me and said, 'Hi, Mr. Cummings! I vote for you all the time.' I just said thank you. What else could I say? That's when I decided, I should just grow a beard." Lewis in the statement suggested the comparisons were because both African American lawmakers were bald, calling such mistakes "baldist." Media outlets from CBS News to Fox News have also previously confused the two lawmakers. Earlier this year, CBS News showed a photo of Cummings, who had already died, during a segment on "CBS Evening News" about Lewis' cancer diagnosis. "People stop me all the time and tell me they're from Maryland," Lewis wrote in the April 2019 statement. "I'm John Lewis, from Georgia. Rep. Cummings is a good friend of mine, but we're not the same person. "I considered getting a tattoo on the back of my head, just to clear things up. I tried to convince Elijah to get one too, but that didn't go over so well. Read more: More than 398,000 people have now signed a petition to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge after late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis President Obama mourns the death of longtime civil rights leader John Lewis: 'We now all have our marching orders' Rep. John Lewis, civil rights icon, was a powerful voice against war with Iraq Nancy Pelosi, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and more mourn the death of civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, who died at 80Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why electric planes haven't taken off yet
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A cross-section of influential lawmakers paid respects to the civil rights icon before his body was...A cross-section of influential lawmakers paid respects to the civil rights icon before his body was moved outside so the public could honor him.
Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights movement icon and sometime space station savior, passed away
Georgia Rep. John Lewis died on Friday at the age of 80, leaving his longtime seat...Georgia Rep. John Lewis died on Friday at the age of 80, leaving his longtime seat in the US House of Representatives vacant. Lewis was up for re-election in November, and now Democrats have to find a replacement on the ballot. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has 10 days to declare a date for a special election to allow voters to choose a replacement for Kemp until his term ends in January 2021, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Democratic Party of Georgia announced Saturday the process in which it plans to select a nominee to replace Lewis on the November ballot for the upcoming Congressional term by 4 p.m. on Monday. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Georgia Rep. John Lewis died at the age of 80 on Friday after a months-long battle with Stage IV pancreatic cancer. After 17 terms as a member of the US House, Lewis leaves his seat in Georgia's fifth Congressional district vacant just months before the longtime lawmaker was up for re-election. Under Georgia law, state Gov. Brian Kemp has 10 days to announce a special election to fill Lewis seat for the rest of the remaining Congressional term, which ends in January, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Kemp can choose the date of the special election and may decide to hold it alongside the Noveember general election, the newspaper reported, meaning Lewis' seat could sit vacant for months. Kemp's office did not immediately return Business Insider's request for comment on Saturday for when he might announce a special election. The Georgia Democratic Party will have until Monday at 4:30 p.m. to decide to replace Lewis on the ballot While voters will have to choose an interim replacement for the civil rights leader during a special election, they will in November be tasked with deciding who should fill Lewis' seat for the next two years, as the late lawmaker was up for re-election in the fall general election. "We are deeply saddened by the loss of Congressman John Lewis, and wish very much that we were not in this position today," Sachin Varghese, general counsel for the Georgia Democratic Party, said in a statement. "The Democratic Party of Georgia takes our legal responsibility of naming a nominee to this seat seriously, and we are making every effort to honor Congressman Lewis' legacy and the people of the Fifth District throughout this process, while working within the applicable legal framework." Under Georgia state law, the state Democratic Party must decide whether it will replace Lewis's name on the ballot by 4:30 p.m. on Monday. In a statement, state Democrats announced anyone interested in filling Lewis seat should complete and submit an application available on the party's website by 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. A nominating committee of fifth district officials and Georgia Democratic Party leaders that includes Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, and five other local officials will review the applicants and make recommendations to the party's executive committee. Then, at 12 p.m. on Monday, the executive committee will choose a nominee and submit that name to the Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger by 4 p.m. on Monday. In June, Lewis won 87% of the vote against primary challenger Barrington Martin II, a 32-year-old educator from Atlanta who received 13% of the vote, according to results from the Georgia Secretary of State. Whomever the party selects as its candidate to replace Lewis on the ballot will face Angela Stanton-King, the GOP challenger who announced her candidacy in March, according to local news outlet 11alive. Stanton-King, the goddaughter of Alveda King, a right-wing religious figure who is a niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., according to the report. In February, Stanton-King received a pardon from President Donald Trump for her 2004 conviction on federal conspiracy charges for her participation in a car theft ring, according to the report. Since then, Stanton-King has authored three books and appeared on the BET reality TV series "From the Bottom Up." As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted, Stanton-King's bid for Lewis' seat is a longshot in Lewis' heavily Democratic district that encompasses downtown Atlanta. Read more: Marco Rubio confused Rep. John Lewis for another late black lawmaker in a tweet honoring the 'historic American hero' More than 398,000 people have now signed a petition to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge after late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis Trump has not yet commented on the passing of Rep. John Lewis despite retweeting Twitter posts after the announcement of his death President Obama mourns the death of longtime civil rights leader John Lewis: 'We now all have our marching orders'Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How waste is dealt with on the world's largest cruise ship