As the nation celebrated the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, president-elect Donald Trump held a much-heralded private meeting at New York’s Trump Tower with Dr. King’s son, Martin Luther King III — an intriguing event considering recent political debate surrounding Rep. John Lewis’ pledge to boycott the president-elect’s inauguration.
According to a tweet from incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer, Trump and King prayed together and “discussed the legacy and work of his father.” The men also posed for a photo, which Spicer shared on social media.
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) January 16, 2017
The meeting, of course, went much deeper than that, though, as Spicer said beforehand that the two would also discuss voting rights, as King has long wanted to establish free national identification that would make it easier for people to cast electoral ballots, whether that be by allowing a photo to be placed on Social Security cards or waiving the $55 passport fee for poor Americans who can’t afford it, according to a Washington Post report about Monday’s meeting.
And the discussion about these subjects was apparently productive, as King said afterward that the meeting — which included others with affiliations to the progressive Drum Institute, a community development and and poverty-alleviation group that King leads — was “constructive,” the Post reported.
Celebrate Martin Luther King Day and all of the many wonderful things that he stood for. Honor him for being the great man that he was!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 16, 2017
“It is very clear that the system is not working at its maximum,” King said, noting that Trump pledged to represent all Americans. “I believe that’s his intent. I believe we have to consistently engage with pressure, public pressure. It doesn’t happen automatically, my father and his team understood that, did that.”
A source also told the Post that the meeting opened with a prayer for unity by Rev. James A. Forbes.
As Faithwire previously reported, Trump and Lewis have exchanged blows in recent days after the Democratic congressman said he doesn’t see Trump “as a legitimate president” and announced plans to boycott the Jan. 20 inauguration; Trump responded by calling Lewis, an icon of the civil rights movement, “all talk” and no action.
Reporters asked King to address that controversy after his meeting with Trump and he treaded lightly on offering up any fervent critique, according to the Daily Mail.
“In the heat of emotion, a lot of things get said on both sides. And I think that at some point, I am, as John Lewis and many others are, a bridge builder,” King said. “The goal is to bring America together and Americans. We are a great nation, and we must become a greater nation.”
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