Sharpton calls out Trump for snubbing Martin Luther King Jr. Day
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's failure to offer recognition on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to the historic civil rights leader himself is an "insult" to the nation, the Rev. Al Sharpton said Monday.
Speaking at his own event in Washington honoring King, Sharpton noted the country is divided and polarized, but that when King was leading the civil rights movement, he not only called out wrongs, he "wanted reconciliation."
Then he hammered Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for not doing the same.
"Today as we have this breakfast, there is no official event at the White House to celebrate Martin Luther King Day," Sharpton said at the event featuring former Vice President Joe Biden and former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who are both believed to be eyeing 2020 presidential runs.
"The vice president... nor the President, have any official thing on their calendar to celebrate a federal holiday that Ronald Reagan signed," Sharpton said. "This is an insult to the American people that the president of the United States does not officially recognize or give any ceremony for Dr. King."
He went on to tie the celebration of King to the government shutdown and King's anti-poverty campaigns.
"Dr. King was killed on his way to this city to build a poor people's campaign. He was killed in Memphis fighting for workers, and federal workers are not paid," Sharpton said.
"The White House has not only shutdown those workers, they shutdown the King holiday," he said.
Sharpton made no presidential endorsements, but he offered a nod to the 2020 campaign overtones cast by the presence of Bloomberg and Biden.
"We have hope, and we hope that leadership will come to this country, and will show a King-like spirit," Sharpton said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request of comment, but after the breakfast the President and the vice president made a brief, unannounced visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. statue in Washington, D.C.