Many people thought that President Trump’s abbreviated visit to the MLK Memorial in Washington DC was the full extent of his celebration of the holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Trump’s begrudging ceremonial trip to the memorial was meant as an attempt to reconfigure his partisan, white nationalist-supporting image into a more inclusive symbol of America.
It didn’t last long.
The president had a separate MLK Day celebration planned exclusively for his base — a group more open to bigotry than inclusion — and he played it out, as usual, on Twitter. It took the form of a message as far from the ideology of Dr. King as Trump’s privileged upbringing as the son of a wealthy real estate developer who gave him millions of dollars was from that of the social justice warrior born to a Baptist minister who gave him regular whippings into his teens.
Four people in Nevada viciously robbed and killed by an illegal immigrant who should not have been in our Country. 26 people killed on the Border in a drug and gang related fight. Two large Caravans from Honduras broke into Mexico and are headed our way. We need a powerful Wall!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 21, 2019
Only someone who could refer to the neo-Nazis who marched with tiki torches to protest the removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville as “very fine people” would have the audacity to send such a viciously xenophobic tweet on the holiday honoring the man who said that he dreamed of a day when people would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
The discrepancy between Trump’s tweet and the message of the man whose legacy is celebrated today was obvious to many of the president’s social media detractors, and they let their fury fly in the comments section after his post.
Just because one immigrant is a criminal doesn’t mean all immigrants are criminals… just like one criminal President doesn’t make all the 44 others criminals.
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) January 21, 2019
I’m thinking, like the one they used for Hannibal Lecter. Except, let’s not put in holes that allow us to hear him speak
— Howard (@HowardA_Esq) January 22, 2019
*Conspicuously neglects to mention the mass murder of 58 people in Las Vegas, Nevada, committed by an American.*
WALLS WILL NOT STOP THAT.
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) January 21, 2019
White males are by far the largest percentage of serial killers world wide and are responsible for more deaths historically than any other single grouping of people. What are we going to do about us?
— AlterNate (@nmalick75) January 22, 2019
He’s called immigrants seeking asylum an “infestation” and characterizes those south of the border as rapists, murderers, criminals, and drug dealers. But the actual evidence shows that undocumented immigrants commit less crimes on average than American citizens.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) January 21, 2019
First we need to get to the bottom of you and your family’s criminal activities and your lying and false statements to the American public..we don’t want a criminal misappropriating our tax dollars
— Karena (@MyKarenas) January 22, 2019
MAKE THIS DAY A NATIONAL HOLIDAY!!! pic.twitter.com/94ByTl3ScF
— #FBR #theresistance #impeach45 #resist (@45RAPEDKATIE) January 21, 2019
Perhaps the best reply came in the form of a graphic depicting how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself would respond to President Trump were the civil rights leader still alive today.
There’s really no need to imagine how Martin Luther King Jr. would react to Trump’s racist wall rhetoric. Dr. King’s life was dedicated to bringing people together, and he made his thoughts on walls meant to create artificial divisions between humans known when he first laid his eyes on the Berlin Wall in Germany in 1964.
“For here, on either side of the Wall, are God’s children and no man-made barrier can obliterate that fact” – Martin Luther King, Jr (Berlin, 1964).
Only a president as malicious and purposefully bigoted as Trump would even imagine sending such a tweet on MLK day. Mueller should indict him today in Dr. King’s memory.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.