Here are the nine current GOP members of Congress who voted against MLK Day


Trump's brand of racism is nothing new for Republicans.

As Donald Trump constantly sets new bars for racism in American politics, it is worth remembering that there are people serving in Congress who voted against making Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a federal holiday, and they are all Republicans.

Four current Republican senators voted against the holiday in 1983: Richard Shelby of Alabama, John McCain of Arizona, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and Orrin Hatch of Utah.

Two current GOP House members, Hal Rogers of Kentucky and James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, also voted against the holiday.


President Ronald Reagan signed the law only after it passed both houses by veto-proof majorities. Even then, he said at a press conference that he would have preferred a "day of recognition" rather than a holiday, "but since they seem bent on making it a national holiday," he would sign it.

Reagan was also forced to apologize to King's wife, Coretta Scott King, for remarking at that same press conference that "we'll know in about 35 years" whether King was a communist sympathizer.

Three other Republicans cast votes against state MLK holidays before entering Congress. Rep. John Culberson of Texas and Sen. Jonny Isakson of Georgia each voted against MLK holidays as state legislators. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana — who once described himself as "David Duke without the baggage" and whose life was saved by a black woman during last year's congressional mass shooting — voted against it twice.

Of those Republicans who voted against the King holiday, several took to Twitter on Monday to shamelessly co-opt the day they once opposed, while others simply remained silent.

Shelby referenced King's "dream of unifying the nation" — a dream he didn't support when he voted against honoring the legacy he now claims to honor.

Isakson tweeted a photo of a King statue, while Hatch chose to highlight the words of the president who opposed the holiday right up until the day he signed it:

Trump may be breaking disgraceful new ground for racism in American politics, but the craven hypocrisy of many others in his party shows that Republicans have spent decades softening the ground for him.