Reporters Plead with MLK III to Attack Trump; Did Lewis Tweets Shake You 'To Your Core?'

On Monday afternoon, reporters stationed inside Trump Tower begged Martin Luther King III to attack President-elect Trump over tweets concerning Democratic Congressman John Lewis (Ga.) following a meeting on the day honoring King’s father, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

King began by stating that he and Trump had “a very constructive meeting” with most of the focus on voting rights, but reporters quickly shifted the topic to Lewis. 

ABC correspondent Tom Llamas snuck in the first pathetic question, trying to bait King into blasting Trump: “Mr. King, as you know, Representative Lewis still has the scars from the March on Selma. Were you offended by the President-elect's tweet that Representative Lewis is all talk and no action?”

King responded by stating Lewis is, like “many others,” a “bridge builder” but added that “in the heat of emotion, a lot of things get said on both sides.”

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With the press corps not satisfied, an unidentified male reporter trotted out this second-hand claim by a woman he said he saw last week at Trump Tower:

Sir, you know many African Americans are very concerned about a Trump presidency. A woman came in here last week and told me he's going to have black people up against the wall, both literally and figuratively. Did he allay your concerns that he'll be a president for all people, black and white? 

Once again, King didn’t take the bait as he ruled “certainly he said that, that he is going to represent Americans” and he’ll “continue to evaluate that” throughout Trump’s presidency.

While Lewis has been in the spotlight, CNN’s Jim Acosta has been as well, following his well-publicized tussle with Trump. Mediaite claimed that Acosta proceeded to "grill" King with this question, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth:

Sir, but if I may follow up, isn't there something that cuts to your core when you hear the President-elect refer to John Lewis as all talk and no action? I mean, nothing could be further from the truth, isn't that right? John Lewis is not all talk and no action. 

“No, absolutely. I would say John Lewis has demonstrated that he's action. As I said, things get said on both sides in the heat of emotion and at some point, this nation, we've got to move forward,” answered King.

Here’s the relevant portion of the transcript from Martin Luther King III’s January 16 press conference at Trump Tower:

MSNBC Live
January 16, 2017
1:47 p.m. Eastern

MARTIN LUTHER KING III: Let me briefly not just reiterate but state that we did have a very constructive meeting. The seminal right of the modern civil rights movement was the right to vote. My father fought so diligently for it, certainly Congressman John Lewis and many others, Hosea Williams fought for as well. It is very clear that the system is not working at its maximum, and through an op-ed that you may have seen, we provided at least a solution to begin to address a broken voting system. That was the dialogue, most of the dialogue that we talked about constructively. We believe we provided a solution that at least will give everyone an I.D. 

TOM LLAMAS: Mr. King, as you know, Representative Lewis still has the scars from the March on Selma. Were you offended by the President-elect's tweet that Representative Lewis is all talk and no action? 

KING: First of all I think that in the heat of emotion, a lot of things get said on both sides and I think that at some point, and I am, as John Lewis and many others are, a bridge builder. The goal is to bring America together and Americans. We are a great nation, but we must become a greater nation, and what my father represented — my mother represented through her life, what I hope that I'm trying to do is always bring people together. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Sir, you know many African Americans are very concerned about a Trump presidency. A woman came in here last week and told me he's going to have black people up against the wall, both literally and figuratively. Did he allay your concerns that he'll be a president for all people, black and white? 

KING: Well certainly he said that, that he is going to represent Americans. He said that over and over again, and I think that we will continue to evaluate that. I think that the nation supports — I believe that's his intent, but I think also we have to consistently engage with pressure, public pressure. It doesn't happen automatically. My father and his team understood that, did that, and I think that Americans are prepared to do that. 

JIM ACOSTA: Sir, but if I may follow up, isn't there something that cuts to your core when you hear the President-elect refer to John Lewis as all talk and no action? I mean, nothing could be further from the truth, isn't that right? John Lewis is not all talk and no action. 

KING: No, absolutely. I would say John Lewis has demonstrated that he's action. As I said, things get said on both sides in the heat of emotion and at some point, this nation, we've got to move forward. We can't stay on — I mean, people are literally probably dying. We need to be talking about how do we feed people, how do we clothe people, how do we create the best education system. That's what we need to be focused on. 

LLAMAS: On this day, what would your father's message would be to President-elect Trump? What do you think your father's message would be to President-elect Trump? 

KING: This is the final answer I'm going to have because I'm going to reiterate what I just said. I think my father would be concerned about the fact that there are 50 million fact there are 50 or 60 million people living in poverty and somehow, we’ve got to create the climate for all boats to be lifted. In America, with a multi-trillion dollar economy — $20 trillion economy almost, it's insanity we have poor people in this nation. That's unacceptable and when we work together, we know we can roll up our sleeves. There's nothing we as Americans can't do. Thank you very much. 

CyberAlerts Trump transition Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Race Issues Racial Preferences MSNBC MSNBC Live Video Martin Luther King Martin Luther King III Jim Acosta Tom Llamas John Lewis Donald Trump
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