On Wednesday morning, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Civil Rights champion Martin Luther King, Jr., the Reverend Al Sharpton accused President Donald Trump of reversing King’s legacy.
“Many of the things Dr. King stood for are under attack 50 years later,” Sharpton told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough.
“I think what people really don’t understand, those of us who grew up in the King movement and the generation after King, is that we mark the 50th anniversary with the challenges that we have a president that has made this kind of racial divide and intolerance become vogue again,” the reverend declared.
Sharpton essentially accused Trump of reversing King’s entire legacy. “When you look at what Donald Trump is doing around questions of people of color, Mexicans, blacks, Muslims, he has reintroduced what Dr. King’s life was against.”
Scarborough, for his part, agreed. “Taking us back 50 years or further.”
The MSNBC host even adopted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s rhetoric, calling Trump a “deplorable example” of a president.
While Trump has proven divisive and has made some particularly ugly comments, the re-emerging racial divide must trace at least in part to President Barack Obama’s championing of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, even in cases where the police did not engage in wrongdoing.
Racial tensions have increased in recent years, but to suggest that things are worse today than they were during Martin Luther King’s inspiring leadership on civil rights is patently false. Sharpton and Scarborough should know better than to soil the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death with suggestions that his activism somehow did not inspire lasting change.
King’s legacy is much more powerful than any racist sentiment allegedly stoked by Trump’s most notorious comments.