The death of 80-year-old Representative John Lewis (D-GA) last night has brought a well-deserved outpouring of tributes and condolences from those who knew and worked with the civil rights icon throughout his career.
Especially in this time of racial strife and BLM marches across the country, even the most diametrically opposed political foes of Congressman Lewis are falling over themselves to add their token acclaim for the long and productive life that the late warrior for social justice successfully navigated.
Only Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), however, was thoughtless enough to personify the racist trope that — to white people — all Black folks look alike.
Senator Rubio’s tweet wishing Congressman Lewis “eternal peace” was horribly marred by the inclusion of what the senator or perhaps his congressional staff thought was a picture of Rubio with the late civil rights leader.
The post would have been a poignant and appropriately respectful tribute to one of the senator’s legislative colleagues had the man in the picture actually been John Lewis.
The fact that the post has now been deleted tells you how mortified Rubio must now be after discovering that he had posted a picture of himself with another African-American legislator who has passed into the great beyond, the late Representative Elijah Cummings, who died last October.
The fact that Rubio decided to replace his regular profile picture with the shot of Congressman Cummings and himself compounded the reputational damage significantly.
You know as well as Rubio and his political team that Twitter will never let him forget the major gaffe.
This is a photo of … Elijah Cummings. https://t.co/pLUqpWjDmQ
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) July 18, 2020
While we’re talking about Rubio using a picture of a completely diff person to commemorate John Lewis, as bad as that is, don’t let it distract you from GOP’s complicity of the Russian bounty on our soldiers as well as the unconstitutional secret police in Portland, stay focused.
— David Weissman (@davidmweissman) July 18, 2020
— Jason Overstreet (@JasonOverstreet) July 18, 2020
"Siri, are any of these John Lewis?"–Marco Rubio pic.twitter.com/3gJXjFECqz
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) July 18, 2020
It is an honor and a blessing to know Senator Marco Rubio. pic.twitter.com/qzKfehh7MM
— 𝚔𝚎𝚟𝚒𝚗 (@KevINthe406) July 18, 2020
.@marcorubio, saw your tweet earlier. Your inability to tell these men apart will not dissapear. My advice to you, toughen up, admit you screwed up and apologize to these families. https://t.co/40VaUd1xbt
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) July 18, 2020
Rubio or someone on his staff finally realized the mistake and found an actual picture of the senator with the man whom he had initially intended to laud.
He posted the new shot with an admission of the earlier mistake, but tellingly without an explanation or apology for the initial mixup.
Earlier today I tweeted an incorrect photo
John Lewis was a genuine American hero
I was honored to appear together in Miami 3 years ago at an event captured in video below
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 18, 2020
Whatever the reason for the excruciatingly embarrassing boner of a mistake on Rubio’s part, you can be sure that the denizens of social media will never let him live it down, and deservedly so.
Original reporting by Matthew Chapman at RawStory.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.