Martin Luther King Jr.’s eldest son compared President Trump to Alabama’s segregationist former Gov. George Wallace during remarks Monday at an event honoring his father.
“George Wallace was a staunch racist and we worked on his heart and ultimately George Wallace transformed,” Martin Luther King III said. “We’ve got to find a way to work on [Trump’s] heart.”
Wallace, a Democrat, became a symbol of opposition to civil rights in the early 1960s. The four-time presidential candidate infamously declared in his first address as Alabama governor that he supported “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
King’s remarks about Wallace and Trump come as the president faces an onslaught of criticism for denigrating Latin American and African nations as “shithole countries” during an Oval Office meeting last week. Lawmakers who were present have offered conflicting accounts of what was said, though Trump himself has not explicitly denied making the profane comment.
Critics of the White House reacted swiftly, calling Trump a racist and questioning the sincerity of his proclamation honoring MLK Day.
“When a president insists that our nation needs more citizens from white states like Norway, I don’t even think we need to spend any time even talking about what it says and what it is,” King said Monday, agreeing with those who have accused Trump of harboring racist opinions.
Trump defended himself late Sunday, telling reporters ahead of a dinner with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., that he is “the least racist person you will ever interview.”
This post originally appeared on Washington Examiner