U.S. President-elect Donald Trump met with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s son at Trump Tower on Monday to mark the holiday that honors the slain civil rights leader.
Trump, who has been mired in an imbroglio with African-American congressman and activist John Lewis, met with King III to discuss voting rights and soothe members of the black community angered by the president-elect’s recent rhetoric. The meeting, which the New York Times reported lasted about an hour, was described as “constructive” by King.
Other prominent figures would like to see more action from the president-elect, who originally planned to visit the national African-American History Museum on Monday before his feud with Lewis erupted. According to the Times, Rev. Al Sharpton said Trump’s characterization of Lewis as “all talk” illustrated the president-elect’s challenges in connecting with the black community. The Republican claimed just 8 percent of the African-American vote in November’s election, according to NBC News exit polls.
Lewis, 76, a contemporary of King’s who endured beatings and jail time in the fight for racial equality in the 1960s, said in a televised interview that he saw Trump’s election as illegitimate because of Russian tampering in the campaign, drawing a scornful response from Trump that soured many heading into MLK weekend. “He said that he is going to represent Americans — he’s said that over and over again,” King told reporters. “We will continue to evaluate that.”