If there’s one thing that is consistent on the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. it’s people claiming to admire him even as they spend the overwhelming majority of their time actively working against causes he stood for.
Such was the case Monday when Republicans, along with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), took to Twitter to celebrate the man who called for an end to the filibuster and demanded equal voting rights for all people. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) didn’t even make a comment about MLK Day on his Twitter or Facebook pages as of 7 p.m. EST.
MSNBC host Ari Melber listed some of the statements from the officials but played a video of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) claiming that he was inspired by MLK to help all people of Kentucky.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who voted against certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election, called King “a man who dreamed and paved a way for many.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said, “we remember the sacrifices he made,” when talking about Dr. King.
Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) called King “a man who transformed our nation.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), said that today, “we… remember what he courageously stood for.”
As Melber noted, most whites at the time of King’s death regarded him as a criminal or agitator.
“He had the extremely high disapproval rate of about 75 percent at his death,” said the host. “And the calls to create today’s holiday remained controversial into the ’70s. It took a campaign and national effort, among many other pushes to get today to become a holiday, which didn’t happen until 1983.”
Speaking Monday, King’s 13-year-old granddaughter said, “My family and I have been working on getting two major bills passed that can make it easier for people to vote, because one of the fundamental rights is the right to vote. Everybody needs to have access to voting.”
Footage of King’s comments about the filibuster made the rounds on Monday as well. When asked about the Civil Rights Act, King said that both he and Americans support it, but because of a small minority of racist members, it was being blocked.
“Well, this would certainly be all right with me, because I think the vast majority of people in the United States would vote favorably for such a bill,” he said. “I think the tragedy is that we have a Congress with a Senate that has a minority of misguided senators who will use the filibuster to keep the majority of people from even voting. They won’t let the majority senators vote. And certainly they wouldn’t want the majority of people to vote, because they know they do not represent the majority of the American people. In fact, they represent, in their own states, a very small minority.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s comments to Kyrsten Sinema on the Filibuster
“Manchin has touted MLK as a revolutionary leader, given that he is siding with the establishment to even minor tweaks to Senate rules or take the Democrats of the month, Senator Sinema who has touted King’s ally in marching on those very issues, Rep. John Lewis, calling him a hero, ‘rest in power, my friend,'” Melber quoted. “But she is using her power right now to block King’s call to end the filibuster against voting rights.”
Martin Luther King III took the war to Sinema on Monday.
“We believe as it relates to getting these bills passed that Sen. Sinema has been one of the challenges,” he said.
Melber then turned to those in the GOP who were promoting MLK’s message of peace.
See Melber’s full commentary and conversation with his panelists below:
Kyrsten Sinema claims to love MLK but she’s working against everything he stands for