On Monday, the son of Martin Luther King Jr. criticized the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, for quoting the slain civil rights leader to defend the construction of a wall along the border with Mexico.
On Sunday, Pence told Margaret Brennan of CBS, during a discussion about how the government shutdown is because of boarder security, and that “the hearts and minds of the American people today are thinking a lot about this being the end of week that we remember the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr.”
“One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King was: ‘Now is the time to make the promises of democracy a reality.’ And you think about how he changed to the United States,” continued Pence. “It inspired us to change through the legislative process to be a more perfect union. That’s exactly what President Trump is asking Congress to do: come and negotiate in a spirit of good faith. We will reopen the government.”
On Monday, during a breakfast in Washington organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III addressed Pence’s comments.
“Every time I reach this period, it is always a reflection. This year is probably more reflective than ever because I wonder what my father would think and (ask), especially because we have an administration and some administrators – the Reverend said that the vice president, Rev. the vice president, I forget exactly what he said, Reverend – but the vice president tried to compare the president with Martin Luther King Jr., “King said.
“Now, Martin Luther King Jr. was a bridge builder, not a wall builder. Martin Luther King Jr. would say that love, not hatred, would make the United States great. Did you listen well? Love, not hatred, would make the United States great. Look, we had not achieved it, we had outbreaks of greatness, “he said.
On Monday, Pence and President Donald Trump made a brief visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington for the holiday in honor of the late civil rights leader. Trump, next to Pence, placed a wreath at the foot of the monument before quickly returning to his motorcade .
During Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2017, Trump met with King III at the Trump Tower in New York at a meeting that the son of the civil rights leader described as “constructive.”
Debra Vandyke is an associate editor for American Magazine, focused on viral/trending stories. Before joining News Reporters, her print and digital work appeared in Vice, NPR the Gauntlet and many others. She has a master of journalism from the Texas A&M. She is based in NYC, and can be reached via her email or our contact form.