Thursday, May 31, 2018

By Kate Brumback

 

ATLANTA—The Rev. Martin Luther King's daughter blasted Steve Bannon's claim that her father would be proud of President Donald Trump.

“(hash)SteveBannon has dangerously and erroneously co-opted my father's name, work and words,” the Rev. Bernice King wrote just before midnight Wednesday in the first of a series of tweets. “Bannon's assertion that my father, (hash)MLK, would be proud of Donald Trump wholly ignores Daddy's commitment to people of all races, nationalities, etc. being treated with dignity and respect.”

In an interview with BBC's “Newsnight,” the former White House chief strategist cited historically low unemployment rates for Black and Hispanic workers and credited the president's crackdown on illegal immigration.

“If you look at the policies of Donald Trump, OK, anybody—Martin Luther King—would be proud of him, of what he's done for the Black and Hispanic community for jobs,” Bannon said.

As he goes on, interviewer Emily Maitlis interrupts him: “You think Martin Luther King would be proud of Donald Trump as president?”

Bannon counters: “You don't think Martin Luther King would sit there and go, ‘Yes, you're putting young Black men and women to work. The lowest unemployment we've had in history and wages are starting to rise among the working class. And you've finally stopped the illegal alien labor force that's coming in and competing with them every day and destroying the schools and destroying the health care.' Absolutely.”

The Black unemployment rate for April was 6.6 percent, while the Hispanic unemployment rate was 4.8, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's the lowest since the agency started collecting that information in January 1972 for Black unemployment and in March 1973 for Hispanic unemployment, according to online data.

But unemployment rates don't tell the whole story. King says her father “would be proud of a livable wage for all and not merely a low unemployment rate.”

King also noted that her father had a global focus, advocating for human rights in general while also fighting for the civil rights of Black people in the United States.

“Further, he would not refer to people as ‘illegal aliens.' The term is degrading and does not reflect his belief that we are all a part of the human family,” she tweeted.

She also wrote that her father “would be extremely disturbed by the climate created by leaders, who have emboldened people to easily express and demonstrate cruelty, predominantly toward people of color and immigrants.”