MLK Day speakers home in on Trump's alleged 'shithole' remark

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would have turned 89 Monday, the odd occasion that his birthday actually falls on the...

Posted: Jan 16, 2018 7:38 AM
Updated: Jan 16, 2018 7:38 AM

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would have turned 89 Monday, the odd occasion that his birthday actually falls on the day Americans set aside to celebrate his victories and the road map he left to ensure the fight for civil rights did not end with his demise.

It's also been almost 50 years since his April assassination, the anniversary of that tragic day in Memphis when the hope he inspired -- hope for equality, fuller lives and a better way forward -- became too much for hatemongers to bear.

Given these milestones, Monday should be about King, and his calls for peace, service and an egalitarian society that didn't judge people on their skin color or from which country they hail.

Alas, the words of President Donald Trump loom over the civil rights icon's day.

Though Trump denies using the word "shithole" in describing Haiti, El Salvador and the 54 nations that compose Africa, this is not the first occasion he's been accused of bigotry. Trump has conceded using harsh words, but he has not responded to reports that he said he'd prefer America's immigrants come from majority white countries such as Norway.

Why Norwegians aren't likely to come

No matter the President's exact words, the sentiment seems to fall short of the standard by which King said America's greatness would truly be graded: that one day his own children would live in a nation where they would "not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

Here is how Trump's words are being discussed in the context of Monday's celebrations:

Bernice King

"We are one world. We are one people. We are one humanity. We are one destiny. And we are, in fact, one blood, for He, meaning God, has made from one blood all nations, for to dwell on the face of the Earth we are one and so our collective voice in this hour must always be louder than the voice of one who may speak sometimes representing these United States, whose words sometimes do not reflect that legacy of my father, who was a patriarch but also a citizen of the world. In light of the current state of affairs, we must understand that our collective voice is more important now than ever before."

"It is important that we understand in this very hour that it is critical that we not allow ourselves to become more polarized and more divided because we don't all think alike, because we don't all even like each other. There is always, or most times, some truth in even those we may disagree with. We've been called in this season to bridge a divide. I may not 100% agree with you, but I have to open my heart, and I have to open my mind to at least consider hearing you, because in hearing you I might hear something that I've never heard before and I might learn something that I've never learned before. But more importantly, I will discover that you are no different than I am."

The Rev. Al Sharpton

"The issue is not what (Trump) said. It's what he's doing. They're not debating (what) the policy is going to be, that they exclude people from Africa and Haiti. They're just arguing about whether he cussed them. If I was walking down the stairs here in the ballroom and you pushed me down the stairs, the argument is not whether you called me the n-word on the way down. The argument is you pushed me down the stairs."

"On King Day, we're going to stand up to Trump without becoming like Trump. We're not going to call him names, but we're not going to allow the policies to go unaccounted for."

Martin Luther King III

"These are evil days when they deny today's immigrants of color the same rights of white immigrants. These are evil days when they see the breakup of families with needless and heartless rationales that is tantamount to political expediency. These are evil days when the President of the United States doesn't seem to understand that Africa is a continent, not a state, and he refers to countries such as Nigeria and Haiti and El Salvador as -- y'all know that word. I don't talk like that. Y'all know what he said."

"We've got to find a way to work on this man's heart. Think about it. (Former Alabama Gov.) George Wallace was a staunch racist, and we worked on his heart and ultimately George Wallace transformed, so don't tell me we can't transform. We've done it too many times. We're not working hard enough."

Activist and radio host Joe Madison

"My favorite quote of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is when he said that the most dangerous things on the planet (are) sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

"I close by saying to Donald Trump, if he's listening, let the message go out loud and clear that God created the Earth and he did not create any s-holes, not on the continent of Africa, not in the Caribbean. If any s-holes were created, it's because man messed it up, and God is going to fix it."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1084488

Reported Deaths: 17386
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1425562217
Lake705171220
Allen64347862
Hamilton49481481
St. Joseph48135639
Elkhart39011536
Vanderburgh33874494
Tippecanoe29863271
Johnson26876463
Hendricks25548379
Porter24683380
Madison20440444
Clark19785275
Vigo18609308
LaPorte16638260
Monroe16237217
Delaware16230286
Howard16181310
Kosciusko13763162
Hancock12644184
Bartholomew12544188
Warrick11889189
Wayne11794264
Floyd11792225
Grant11484233
Morgan10134188
Boone9576120
Noble8921121
Henry8917163
Marshall8792146
Dearborn875798
Dubois8673138
Shelby7958127
Cass7907126
Lawrence7861182
DeKalb7416106
Jackson738093
Huntington7280107
Gibson6922118
Montgomery6830122
Harrison680696
Knox6779113
Steuben641185
Miami6384106
Whitley631160
Putnam626582
Clinton614176
Wabash5958108
Jasper591991
Jefferson5617102
Ripley540892
Adams527881
Daviess4964116
Scott475978
Wells462998
White459967
Greene458399
Clay452162
Decatur4491109
Jennings434666
Fayette429094
LaGrange413890
Posey398344
Washington380654
Randolph3770107
Fountain364962
Spencer353446
Fulton352270
Starke343672
Sullivan342454
Owen341676
Orange320270
Jay315450
Rush293332
Carroll287037
Franklin283544
Perry281453
Vermillion277557
Parke244930
Tipton244664
Pike241744
Blackford213944
Pulaski203158
Newton176552
Brown169850
Crawford167129
Benton160517
Martin149219
Switzerland143712
Warren131416
Union115416
Ohio90513
Unassigned0581

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1673496

Reported Deaths: 26483
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1757641826
Cuyahoga1629012636
Hamilton1118741528
Montgomery791421387
Summit697231199
Lucas615331017
Butler55597803
Stark521611170
Lorain40661639
Warren35239412
Mahoning34821769
Lake31171493
Clermont30541362
Delaware26553182
Trumbull26366611
Licking26095335
Medina25072351
Fairfield24063287
Greene23957369
Clark21542387
Portage20538280
Richland20465336
Wood19524246
Allen18427320
Miami16950348
Columbiana16385331
Muskingum16346206
Wayne15351304
Tuscarawas14018357
Marion12978194
Erie12350198
Ashtabula12171225
Scioto12166182
Pickaway12009151
Ross11417223
Hancock11151173
Geauga10572174
Lawrence10433171
Belmont10200231
Huron9545155
Jefferson9425225
Union933375
Sandusky8981166
Seneca8639156
Knox8591169
Washington8578156
Athens825096
Darke8215179
Ashland7777147
Auglaize7695115
Shelby7302132
Defiance7174114
Brown7015115
Crawford7010150
Fulton6953111
Logan6818108
Mercer679397
Guernsey677983
Highland6591117
Madison639289
Clinton6361106
Williams623498
Preble6153139
Putnam6054120
Jackson569496
Champaign564786
Perry557179
Coshocton5525103
Ottawa549599
Morrow504464
Fayette481270
Hardin475399
Gallia460278
Pike457876
Van Wert451591
Adams4495109
Henry422776
Hocking398093
Holmes3917137
Wyandot366673
Carroll348978
Paulding317449
Meigs300957
Monroe230860
Noble216147
Morgan208938
Harrison204052
Vinton182037
Unassigned05
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