The voice of the late Congressman John Lewis — known as the “conscience of the U.S. Congress” — reverberated through the U.S. Capitol one more time during a ceremony in the Rotunda on Monday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi grew emotional as she eulogized her late colleague of several decades.
“We knew that he always worked on the side of the angels, and now we know that he is with them,” she said.
She then turned the floor over to Lewis — and his own words from a 2014 Emory University commencement speech. Lawmakers broke out in applause after the clip played.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s remarks also recalled Lewis’ speech during the March on Washington, which the Kentucky Republican attended as a young Senate intern.
The socially distanced ceremony inside the Capitol was attended by party leaders on both sides of the aisle and members of the Congressional Black Caucus, many in masks reading “vote” and “good trouble.” The civil rights icon was honored in a private, invitation-only event that will be followed by an unprecedented public viewing taking place outside the building through Tuesday.
Asked on Monday, when he was departing the White House for a North Carolina facility involved in producing a potential coronavirus vaccine, if he planned on paying his respects to the congressman, President Donald Trump said no.
“No, I won’t be going. No,” Trump told reporters.
Vice President Mike Pence, along with second lady Karen Pence paid their respects, as did Joe and Jill Biden.