Representative Danny K. Davis
When Representative Danny K. Davis (D-7th) learned Monday that two Republican statesmen are backing a bill to rename a portion of a Tennessee street dedicated to the late Representative John Lewis (D-GA) in order to honor Trump, he said it smacks of a pattern and practice by the GOP to deliberately divide and create racial division and animosities.
Davis was referring to a bill sponsored by Representative Frank Niceley (R-TN) and Representative Paul Sherrell (R-TN) who are seeking to rename a section of Nashville’s Fifth Avenue that had been named after Representative Lewis. The section is located between James Robertson Parkway and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
The irony of their bill is that Trump is on record saying he barely knew Lewis. In an August 4, 2020, New York Times article, Trump was asked to comment on the death of Lewis. “I never met John Lewis, actually,” Trump said. “He didn’t come to my inauguration. He didn’t come to my State of the Union speeches, and that’s OK. That’s his right.”
Trump was asked to comment on Lewis’ Civil Rights accomplishments, but he instead bragged on his own record saying, “Again, nobody has done more for African Americans than I have. He (Lewis) should have come” to Trump’s inauguration. “I think he made a big mistake,” Trump said.
Reached in Washington, D.C., Davis said the Republicans are “deliberately dividing our country. It is so unfortunate that Republicans or anybody would deliberately generate thoughts and ideas to provoke racial division and animosities.
“I always thought America could be better than that,” he said. “I guess it is so politicized, especially on the other side of the aisle and those people who believe what they believe and trying to convince the American people that’s the way we ought to think. It’s incredible.”
While Tennessee lawmakers are trying to change the name to the existing Rep. Lewis Street, Rep. Davis revealed that House Republicans have changed the name of his Ways and Means Sub-committee, which was Worker and Family Support.
Davis said the Committee Democrats objected to the Republicans changing the name to Worker and Welfare Sub-Committee “with the idea of conveying that if you’re not working and you receive any kind of benefit, then you’re getting welfare.”
Davis said that sub-committee deals with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), homelessness, child care, child and family services, child support, foster care, adoption, supplemental security income, social services, eligibility of welfare recipients for food stamps, low-income energy assistance, federal and state unemployment compensation and emergency benefits.
“There are families in our country who need support, but that does not mean they are on welfare,” Davis said.
“It does not mean they are unwilling to work, but if you are a single mother enrolled in the TANF program and have children and don’t have adequate babysitting or early childhood education programs to put your children in while you go to school, in a training program or while you are at work, that does not mean you are irresponsible.
“It means that you need some support, some help,” he said. “I guess it seems to be part of the trend in terms of further divide, further creation of space, animosities rather than coming together to reason,” Davis said. He quoted the Bible saying, “Come and let us reason together; otherwise, we shall all be utterly destroyed by the edge of the sword.”
“I think they are trying to destroy and tear down some of the harmony that exists in America, and that is unfortunate,” Davis said.
Asked why the Republicans would want to do that, he explained, “It’s difficult in terms of reasoning, but there are people who obviously want to turn the clock back.
“They want to take us back to places where we’ve been as a country, as a nation. That seems to be their intent rather than achieving this business of all boats being lifted,” Davis reasoned.
“They want to keep some boats at the bottom. They want to keep some folks disadvantaged,” Davis said.
“They want to not live up to the idea of the true meaning of democracy and not live up to what the forefathers put into their creeds, in their pledge, in their recognition that we have to keep moving positively and progressively toward equalization of America,” said Davis.
Asked if America can withstand the onslaught of the new majority-controlled House for the next two years, Davis said, “I think we will survive it, but it sure will be more challenging than it has to be. We are not going backwards. We are going to move forward because that is the only way to go.”
When asked about the status of Representative George Santos (R-NY) who has now been accused of sexual harassment by a former aide who filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee last Friday, Davis said, “He’s still here, and he is still being sanctioned by his colleagues.
“They have not mandated that he leave or anything. The people in his district have consistently suggested that they’d rather he not represent them,” Davis stated.
Asked if this matter will be left up to the courts since Santos is under several state and federal investigations into his financial activities, Davis explained, “The courts can act, but the leadership of the Republican Caucus could also act.”
Davis added, “That doesn’t look like that will happen at the moment, but pressure keeps building and as it keeps building like a pressure cooker, you have to let off some steam; otherwise, something explosive would happen. I don’t think they would like to see that.”