Trump, who also met with King’s son later in the day, may be trying to put behind him the controversy over his criticism of Rep. John Lewis, a black congressman and civil rights icon, who had angered Trump by calling him an “illegitimate president” and saying he would not attend the inauguration.
In a message sent on Twitter on Monday, Trump said: “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!”
The son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said he had a “very constructive” meeting with Trump on the holiday marking his father’s life.
Martin Luther King III played down Trump’s recent claim that Lewis was “all talk.” He told reporters at Trump Tower on Monday that in the heat of emotion, “A lot of things get said on both sides.”
King said the focus of his meeting with Trump was to improve voter participation and stress the need to bring America together. He said Trump assured him it’s his intent to reach out to all Americans, even those who did not support him.