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One of America’s greatest champions did not hold back when faced with the opportunity to voice his opinion on President Donald Trump.
While speaking about equal pay for women in sports at a Monday news conference at the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis blasted Trump as “racist” and “misogynistic.”
“In America we have a tremendous challenge, there are a lot of issues going on,” Lewis told reporters. “We have a racist president, who is prejudiced, misogynistic, who doesn’t value anyone outside of himself, so we have a major challenge in our country to deal with as well.”
Lewis’ remarks come on heels of mass shootings
Lewis’ comments arrive in the aftermath of a pair of mass shootings in the United States, with the suspected shooter at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart massacre that left 22 dead believed to have authored an anti-immigrant screed preceding the shooting that echoed Trump’s rhetoric regarding immigration.
Police said that the suspect drove from his Dallas home to El Paso to kill as many Mexicans as he could.
Trump condemned the “racist hate” cited in the manifesto while blaming “mental illness” and video games as reasons for the shootings.
In his response, Trump neglected to address his own anti-immigrant rhetoric that has included making a joke when a supporter at one of his rallies suggested shooting immigrants and tweeting about immigrants who “infest our country,” likening them to violent gang members.
Lewis voices support for equal pay
While blasting Trump — a man who once bragged about sexually assaulting women — as “misogynistic,” Lewis celebrated his mother, a competitor at the 1951 Pan Am games.
“If I didn't have a strong woman in my life, I wouldn't be sitting here today," Lewis said. "My mother was a pioneer.”
Lewis also spoke in support of the equal pay movement championed by the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.
“The reality is that there's a lot of prejudice, and a lot of prejudice is fear,” he said. “We're afraid to give the same opportunity because it gives us a leg up ... the reality is that it's no different than another athlete on another team. So, yes, I support that.”
Lewis tallied nine gold medals and one silver medal as a sprinter and long jumper over the course of four Olympic Games — 1984 in Los Angeles, 1988 in Seoul, 1992 in Barcelona and 1996 in Atlanta.
He will present the 100-meter and long jump medals in Lima.
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