“It was an honor to know & be blessed with the opportunity to serve in Congress with John Lewis a genuine & historic American hero. May the Lord grant him eternal peace,” the Florida Republican wrote in a tweet on Saturday.
However, Rubio mistakenly posted a photo of himself with another late Black lawmaker, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died in October 2019 at the age of 68—and Twitter immediately pointed out Rubio’s blunder. Rubio even briefly made the photo his profile image.
In a second tweet, Rubio recognized he “tweeted an incorrect photo” and shared an image of what looks to be a screenshot of him and Lewis from an appearance in Miami in 2017.
The late congressmen have been mixed up for one another before, and it used to happen so often that in an April 2019 press release, Lewis said he was thinking about growing a beard so people knew it was him and not Cummings.
"Just this weekend, I went to church in Maryland," Lewis wrote in the statement from last year. "Someone came up to me and said, 'Hi, Mr. Cummings! I vote for you all the time.' I just said thank you. What else could I say? That's when I decided, I should just grow a beard."
He also said that he and Cummings were often compared because they were both bald, labeling these mistakes as “baldist.”
CBS News, Fox News, and various media outlets have also confused the two lawmakers. When CBS News aired a segment on Lewis’ cancer diagnosis, they shared a photo of Cummings who had already passed away.
“People stop me all the time and tell me they're from Maryland,” Lewis wrote in the April 2019 statement. “I'm John Lewis, from Georgia. Rep. Cummings is a good friend of mine, but we're not the same person.”
“I considered getting a tattoo on the back of my head, just to clear things up. I tried to convince Elijah to get one too, but that didn't go over so well.”
Lewis, both a Georgia representative and Civil Rights icon, died on Friday from pancreatic cancer at the age of 80. Cummings died unexpectedly in October 2019.