Two of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Children Speak Out Against Trump

In Washington, Martin Luther King III, a son of Dr. King, noted Mr. Trump’s remarks and said, “I don’t even think we need to spend any time even talking about what it says and what it is.”

“Now the problem is that you have a president who says things but has the power to execute and create racism,” Mr. King said. “That’s a dangerous power and a dangerous position, and we cannot tolerate that. We’ve got to find a way to work on this man’s heart.”

While two of Dr. King’s adult children spoke out against the president on Monday, another relative, in an interview on Fox News on Saturday, defended Mr. Trump. “President Trump is not a racist,” Alveda C. King, a niece of Dr. King and a former Georgia state legislator, told “Fox and Friends.”

In brief remarks at Ebenezer, Mr. Trump’s housing and urban development secretary, Ben Carson, suggested that he had concerns about some of the remarks attributed to the president.

“I’m a member of this administration, and I don’t agree with the president about everything or of how it’s said,” said Mr. Carson, who noted, to some laughter, that he did not “even agree with everything that I’ve said.”


The Rev. Bernice King, daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., speaking during a commemorative service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Monday.

Phil Skinner/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via Associated Press

“There is something to be said about understanding messaging,” Mr. Carson said, “and if the way you say things is so inflammatory that people can’t hear your message, it’s not helpful, and that’s why I don’t do that anymore.”


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Despite the partisan firestorm that has resulted from Mr. Trump’s remarks, elected officials in both parties publicly celebrated Dr. King’s work in Georgia, his birthplace and the site of his marble-encased tomb along Auburn Avenue in Atlanta. Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia, wrote on Twitter that “Dr. King’s legacy is a guiding light.”

Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia, said it was a day to “honor and remember the leadership and wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose legacy continues to make a positive difference in the lives of many people in our state and around the world.”

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During a visit to Georgia last week, Mr. Trump approved legislation that upgraded the designation of National Park Service sites that honor Dr. King in Atlanta. And on Friday, he signed a proclamation marking the holiday on Monday and encouraged “all Americans to observe this day with acts of civic work and community service in honor of Dr. King’s extraordinary life.”

The White House on Monday tweeted a video message from Mr. Trump in which he says that Dr. King’s dream is “the promise stitched into the fabric of our nation, etched into the hearts of our people and written into the soul of humankind.”

Mr. Trump spent part of the holiday in Florida at the Trump International Golf Club, but White House officials did not confirm whether he played golf.

Michael D. Shear contributed reporting from Palm Beach, Fla.

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