BY CATHLEEN DECKER
LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump met with Martin Luther King III on Monday, a holiday commemorating the life of King’s father, which this year was marked by Trump’s quarrel with Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a hero of the civil rights struggle.
King, the oldest surviving child of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., described the meeting at Trump Tower as constructive and said it had centered on efforts to improve the voting system.
Asked by reporters about Trump’s characterization of Lewis as “all talk … no action,” King said he “absolutely” disagreed.
“I would say John Lewis has demonstrated that he is action,” said King.
But, he added, “Things get said on both sides in the heat of emotion. And at some point in this nation, we’ve got to move forward.”
Sparked by video
The conflict between the president-elect and Lewis began on Jan. 6 when NBC’s “Meet the Press” released video of Lewis saying he did not consider Trump a legitimate president.
On Saturday, Trump responded via Twitter, criticizing Lewis and referring to his Atlanta-area congressional district as downtrodden and crime-ridden. Actually, it includes many of the city’s high-end areas.
King said Trump told him that he intended to represent all Americans.
“I believe that’s his intent,” King said. “I believe we have to consistently engage with pressure, public pressure.”
In his reference to voting, King appeared to be referring to difficulties faced by African-American voters, many of them due to restrictive laws put into effect by Republican legislators.
Trump, during his campaign, suggested that voters in overwhelmingly African-American cities like Philadelphia could be planning to steal the election via voter fraud.
After the meeting, Trump accompanied King down the elevator and shook his hand before returning upstairs. He did not speak to reporters.