Trump and Pence are rejecting a chance to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. after President Obama embraced his legacy.
Both Trump and Mike Pence initially refused to hold any public events to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on MLK Day.
Neither Trump nor Pence listed any public events on their schedules released to journalists for MLK Day 2019. The rejection of King is a break from recent presidential tradition.
On his last MLK Day while in office, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visited a homeless shelter in Washington, D.C., and painted a mural of King on a "Wall of Hope." The year before, the Obamas visited a D.C. elementary school to participate in a National Day of Service.
For his first King Day in office, Trump embraced racism early by attacking civil rights icon and hero Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who served alongside Dr. King in the fight for racial equality. Trump followed that up by using his presidential campaign to send a casual and cavalier message of "thoughts and prayers" to King's family.
In office, Trump has embodied the values of intolerance that King fought against his entire life. Trump has repeatedly invoked racist ideas and language while denigrating non-Christians. He even praised neo-Nazis as "very fine people."
At every turn, Trump has tried to roll America back to the sort of country it was before King and the Civil Rights Movement.
Trump chose not to honor King and it speaks volumes about the values he embodies and the mindset he operates with.
Update: At 11 a.m., Trump and Pence headed to the Martin Luther King Memorial for a surprise visit. The trip was not listed on either of their schedules, so it isn't clear when exactly the White House decided on the need for some sort of gesture to honor MLK after all.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.