ATLANTA (NEXSTAR) — Former President Barack Obama used Rep. John Lewis’ funeral on Thursday to call for Election Day to be turned into a national holiday.
Speaking from the pulpit of the church that Martin Luther King Jr. once led in Atlanta, Obama presented the idea as a way “every American citizen has equal representation in our government.”
“If you are somebody who is working in a factory or you’re a single mom who has to go to her job and doesn’t get time off, you can still cast you ballot,” Obama said as those in attendance cheered.
Obama also called on Congress to renew the Voting Rights Act, which Trump and Republican congressional leaders have left unchanged since the Supreme Court diminished the landmark law in 2012.
“You want to honor John? Let’s honor him by revitalizing the law that he was willing to die for,” Obama said, arguing that the bipartisan praise for the Georgia congressman since his death isn’t enough.
Trump was the only living president who played no official role in a week of public remembrances for Lewis. Besides Obama and Bush, former President Bill Clinton spoke Thursday at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Former President Jimmy Carter, who is 95, sent a statement read by the church’s senior pastor, the Rev. Raphael Warnock.
Lewis had called Trump an illegitimate president ahead of his 2017 inauguration and chided him for stoking racial divisions. Trump answered by calling Lewis “all talk, talk, talk (and) no action” and describing his Atlanta congressional district as “crime infested.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.