Martin Luther King’s son criticized President Donald Trump for merely following a script when he honored the slain civil rights leader only a day after describing African nations as “shitholes.”
Speaking to The New York Daily News, Martin Luther King III said the president had lost any “credibility” when speaking of the civil rights leader after he reportedly made the disparaging comment when discussing immigration from El Salvador, Haiti and some African nations when talking with Congressional leaders.
Trump denied making the comment on Friday, after the White House initially would not deny he had made them.
“When you make a statement like you made yesterday, the question is: ‘Do you even understand why we have a Martin Luther King holiday?’” King told the publication Friday.
“Today he's doing what the script told him to do. Yesterday caused him to lose any level of credibility. You can talk about Martin Luther King. But the hope is you would hear and embrace what he had to say.”
Trump signed the proclamation in the White House on King’s birthday, as he faced a barrage of criticism from Republicans and Democrats for the comments.
“This is a great and important day. Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday 2018, by the President of the United States of America, a proclamation. Congratulations to him and to everybody,” said Trump.
He ignored a question from Urban News reporter April Ryan, who asked, “Are you racist?”
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King's nephew, Isaac Newton Farris Jr., also spoke at the event honoring his uncle's legacy.
"If my uncle were here today, the first thing he would say is, 'What are we or what are you doing for others?" Farris asked.
Martin Luther King III was 10 when assassin James Earl Ray shot his father dead on April 4, 1968.
King met with Trump in Trump Tower, New York, before the president’s January 2017 inauguration, to discuss his father’s legacy, which he described as “very constructive” and said Trump told him he intends to be a "bridge-builder" to help the country "become a greater nation" moving forward.
Trump has since been criticized for stirring up racial tensions in the U.S., describing white nationalists who rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August as having in their ranks some “very fine people” and calling for NFL players protesting against police racism by taking a knee during the national anthem to be fired.
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