The funeral tribute held in honor of Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a civil rights leader, was used by former President Barack Obama to raise issues of political concern.
The ceremony was also attended by former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, but Obama was the only one to address his followers with political messages, at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church on July 30, according to The Daily Caller.
Lewis, died on July 17 at the age 80 from pancreatic cancer.
In his speech, Obama compared President Donald Trump to Democratic segregationist Gov. George Wallace of Alabama and police to civil rights-era law enforcement officers who beat blacks across the South.
He also insisted that the recent demonstrations in the United States were “peaceful” despite evidence to the contrary and that the vote on Nov. 3 be held by mail, despite frequently reported risks of fraud.
Obama also condemned “the sending of agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators.”
In the words of Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson, Obama gave a “divisive and deeply dishonest campaign speech” at the Lewis service.
Obama’s intervention was controversial since it presented as reprehensible actions that had been carried out during his term of office.
Similarly, an African American law student tweeted the criticism of his invitation to the troops to protest.
“Wow, Barack Obama is delivering Lewis’s eulogy & this [expletive removed] had the nerve to call on federal troops to protest against the protesters as if [he] had not done the same at FERGUSON & BALTIMORE,” wrote @sirhottest
Violent demonstrations in Ferguson and Baltimore followed the deaths of African Americans Michael Brown and Freddie Gray in 2014 and 2015, during the Obama administration.
Wow, Barack Obama is delivering Lewis's eulogy & this MF had the nerve to call out federal troops teargassing protestors AS IF HE DIDN'T DO THE SAME THING IN FERGUSON & BALTIMORE LOL
— Patriot J 🔥 (@sirhottest) July 30, 2020
Another Twitter user also deplored Obama’s performance.
“Yes, it’s not even a eulogy, he took the opportunity to make a political statement. Very sad that he used the privilege of delivering this decent man’s eulogy for something like that. Tacky and a disservice to him and his family,” he tweeted in turn @pinkpreserves.
Yeah it’s not even a eulogy, he took the opportunity to make a political statement. Very sad that he would use the privilege of delivering this decent man’s eulogy for something like that. Tacky and a disservice to him and his family.
— relaxcyberbullies (@pinkpreserves) July 31, 2020
Another Internet user also lamented Obama’s politically motivated intervention at a funeral.
“The whole thing was appalling, using a man’s funeral as a political stump speech. And saying, peaceful protesters. Once a liar, always a liar,” commented @Binstoksarah.
The whole thing was appalling, using a man’s funeral for political stump speech. And to say peaceful protesters. Once a liar always a liar.
— Sarah Binstok (@BinstokSarah) July 30, 2020