After President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence made an unannounced appearance at Washington’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in honor of the holiday, the Rev. Al Sharpton slammed the visit as just for show.
Monday’s White House schedule didn’t list any events in commemoration of the holiday, causing Sharpton to speculate that neither Trump nor Pence had any plan to honor King.
“Who does a going to a memorial in secret?” Sharpton, an activist and MSNBC host, said in an interview on the network a few hours later. “I mean, why wouldn’t it have been on the schedule if they intended to do it?”
Sharpton added: “You don’t just decide I’m going to privately get the vice president to sneak by Dr. King’s memorial to surprise ― surprise who? The monuments?”
The real motivation behind the visit, Sharpton said, was the public’s response to news of Trump’s empty schedule.
“He was reacting to the fact that all of us were attacking him.”
On Sunday, Pence was the subject of widespread criticism for his use of a line from King’s 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech, which the vice president spun to support Trump’s promised southern border wall.
“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy,” King said in the speech recited by Pence during a “Face the Nation” interview.
Sharpton added to the criticism, saying the line didn’t match the administration’s actions.
“It was an absolute oxymoron for him to say it if he understood what he was really quoting,” Sharpton argued. “I mean, it was the wrong quote for him.”