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Rep. John Lewis Decries Donald Trump’s Rhetoric During L.A. Visit: ‘I Think Demagogues Are Pretty Dangerous’

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Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) speaks at the Student Union Theatre at Cal State L.A. on Jan. 23, 2016. (Credit: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) used a pair of appearances in Los Angeles on Saturday to urge young student activists to continue to fight for equality in the United States, warning that Republican presidential front-runnerDonald Trump could set the country back with his divisive rhetoric aimed at immigrants and Muslims

“I’ve been around a while and Trump reminds me so much of a lot of the things that George Wallace said and did,” Lewis said in an interview with The Times after speaking at Cal State L.A. “I think demagogues are pretty dangerous, really. … We shouldn’t divide people, we shouldn’t separate people.”

“Sometimes I feel like I am reliving part of my past. I heard it so much growing up in the South,” he said. “I heard it so much during the days of the civil rights movement. As a people, I just think we could do much better.”

Lewis, 75, started off the day taking questions from student activists at a breakfast hosted by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He recounted his role in the 1965 march from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery in support of voting rights when he was severely beaten by Alabama state troopers.

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