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Biden returns to Washington to pay respects to John Lewis

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden made his first public appearance in Washington D.C. since March on Monday. The former vice president and his wife stopped by the U.S. Capitol to pay their respects to the late civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis. The Bidens were joined by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her daughter.

The body of the Georgia congressman is lying in state in the Rotunda until Tuesday. The spot is reserved for presidents, lawmakers and other dignitaries. Lewis becomes the first African American to lay in state in the Capitol.

The Bidens covered their hearts as they stood by the flag-draped coffin, and Biden briefly saluted Lewis. The couple spent roughly 10 minutes in the Rotunda.

In a statement after the death of Lewis on July 18, Biden called the civil rights icon a hero.

“It is rare to meet and befriend our heroes. John was that hero for so many people of every race and station, including us. He absorbed the force of human nature’s cruelty during the course of his life, and the only thing that could finally stop him was cancer,” Biden said.

Biden also said that Lewis’ death reminds Americans that we are all created equal.

“John’s life reminds us that the most powerful symbol of what it means to be an American is what we do with the time we have to make real the promise of our nation that we are all created equal and deserve to be treated equally,” he said.

Lewis had recently endorsed Biden just a few months before his death.

“It is my belief that we need Joe Biden now more than ever before,” said Lewis. “We need his voice. We need his leadership now more than ever before. We need someone who is going to get our country on the right side of history and help save our planet.”

President Donald Trump has said he will not be paying his respects at the Capitol; however, Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence paid their respects at the Capitol on Monday evening. 

The Bidens traveled to Washington by motorcade from their Delaware home.

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