President-elect Donald Trump marked the Monday holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. by hosting the civil rights hero’s son at Trump Tower.
Afterward, Martin Luther King III said Trump told him he intended to be the president for all, regardless of race.
“Certainly, he said that — that he is going to represent Americans,” King said in answer to a reporter’s question. “He said that over and over again. And I think that we will continue to evaluate that.”
King called the meeting, which lasted for less than an hour and included a discussion on voter access, “very productive.”
Trump accompanied King on the elevator ride to the lobby of the Manhattan skyscraper after the meeting and shook his hand in front of news cameras, but did not address reporters.
King, president of the progressive Drum Major Institute think tank, was asked if he believes Trump will follow through on his promise to work in the interests of all Americans.
“I believe that that’s his intent, but I think also we have to consistently engage in pressure, public pressure,” King said.
The president-elect tweeted earlier Monday: “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!”
Trump, who will be inaugurated Friday in front of the U.S. Capitol, had feuded over the weekend with Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), another civil rights champion and a colleague of Martin Luther King Jr.
Lewis had told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that he did not consider Trump a legitimate president because Lewis believes Russian hacking contributed to Trump’s election.
Trump had replied via Twitter that the 16-term congressman, who was beaten during the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, was “all talk, talk, talk.”
He added that “Lewis should finally focus on the burning and crime-infested inner-cities of the U.S.”
Martin Luther King III appeared Monday to forgive Trump for his criticism of Lewis, saying the lawmaker who fought for voter and other rights alongside his father is “action,” not just talk, but the country must move on together.
“Things get said on both sides in the heat of emotion. And at some point, this nation, we’ve got to move forward,” King said, adding that his father would have wanted to tell Trump about the “50 or 60 million people living in poverty, and somehow we’ve got to create the climate for all boats to be lifted.”
King, in a Washington Post op-ed, said he wants to make it easier for citizens to meet voterrequirements in each state and proposed that the Trump administration add headshots to Social Security cards or waive the $55 passport card fee for low-income Americans. King said these ideas made up the bulk of his meeting with the president-elect.
Also Monday, the conservative commentator selected by Trump to direct communications at the National Security Council bowed out of the White House position amid allegations of plagiarism.
“After much reflection, I have decided to remain in New York to pursue other opportunities and will not be taking a position in the incoming administration,” Monica Crowley said in a statement, according to the Washington Times.
She added that she “will continue to enthusiastically support him and his agenda for American renewal.”
Crowley plagiarized key passages of her 2002 doctoral dissertation and a 2012 book, Politico and CNN have reported.