In an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, Pence used quotes from King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 to justify the president’s efforts to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King was, ‘Now is the time to make the real promises of democracy,'” Pence, 59, said to host Margaret Brennan. “You think of how he changed America. He inspired us to change through legislative process to become a more perfect union.”
Pence then related Dr. King’s words to Trump’s proposed compromise to end the government shutdown: “That’s exactly what President Trump is calling on the Congress to do: Come to the table in a spirit of good faith. We’ll secure our border, we’ll reopen our government.”
But the son of Dr. King strongly disagrees. At a National Action Network MLK Breakfast hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton on Monday, Martin Luther King III said, “This year is probably more reflective than ever because I wonder what my father would be thinking and ask[ing], especially since we have an administration… but the vice president attempted to compare the president to Martin Luther King Jr.”
He went on to say, “Now, Martin Luther King Jr. was a bridge builder, not a wall builder. Martin Luther King Jr. would say love, not hate, will make America great.”
Many on Twitter shared the young King’s opinion, slamming Pence for taking Dr. King’s words out of context. The NAACP tweeted “This is an insult to Dr. King’s Legacy,” while another user wrote, “Please don’t ever disrespect one of the greatest civil rights leader that this world has ever seen! He never wanted to build a wall or create division. He wanted inclusion, equality and fairness.”