“No, I won’t be going,” the president told reporters Monday. “No.”
The president made his comment as he was leaving the White House for North Carolina just as Lewis’ American flag-draped casket was arriving at the Capitol and being carried into the building by a military honor guard.
Lewis, who died July 17 at the age of 80, will be lying in state at the U.S. Capitol until Thursday’s funeral at Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once led.
Trump did not say why he was declining to visit Lewis.
Lewis was critical of Trump during his time in office. A week before the 2017 inauguration, Lewis said he did not consider Trump a legitimate president.
Both Vice President Mike Pence and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden are expected to pay their respects.
One Twitter user said the president’s decision was just another sign he’s a racist. Others considered his presence inappropriate.