On Monday, in recognition of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr, President Donald Trump released a video message that paid tribute. “Dr. King's dream is our dream,” Trump said. “It is the American Dream. It's the promise stitched into the fabric of our Nation, etched into the hearts of our people, and written into the soul of humankind." “Honored to lay a wreath at MLK Jr. Memorial with the Second Lady,” Vice President Mike Pence tweeted over the weekend. “He was a great American leader who inspired a movement & transformed a Nation. He took the words of our Founders to heart to forge a more perfect union based on the notion all men are created equal & in the image of God.” 

FBI Director Christopher Wray and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also laid wreaths at the MLK Jr. monument on Monday, praising the fallen Christian leader. “Dr. King understood no man is an island and that we rise and fall together,” Wray said. He added that “whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly,” while listing violent crime, discrimination and hatred. “We have made progress as a nation over the last 50 years, but it isn’t enough,” he said. “We still haven’t reached that mountain top that Dr. King referenced so eloquently.”

Wray said his agency strives to “ensure fairness and equality,” and “foster diversity” to “better reflect the communities” it serves. “[Our job at the FBI] is simple and profound. To protect the American people, and uphold The Constitution, and to follow the facts independently wherever they may lead,” he said, adding that “protecting civil rights and observing civil liberties” was “at the heart” of everything the FBI does. 

Wray announced that the FBI now requires every new analyst and agent in training at the agency to take a course specifically dedicated to King, and to “visit this memorial” to “understand how we can better do our jobs.” “We will only continue to make progress as we continue to move forward together,” he said. “One day we will reach that mountain top together.”

Alveda King -- Dr. King's niece -- dismissed claims that Trump is a racist. "I do not believe President Donald John Trump is a racist. The economy's up. Jobs are up in the black community. There is great promise to get a lot of people who have been unfairly incarcerated out," King told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" on Monday. In December, black unemployment fell to its lowest rate since records began in 1972, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. "The president is working for America, period, as he is draining the swamp. And African-Americans are benefiting. Our jobs are going up. Our unemployment is going down. Companies are saying they are going to raise their own minimum wage and do bonuses because of the tax cuts. So, the president is helping the African-American community. And I don't believe President Donald Trump is a racist."

Last week, Trump signed a proclamation honoring King, in the presence of members of King's family. First Lady Melania Trump issued a tweet on Monday, stating: “Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. & his service to this great country.  I am honored to be First Lady of a nation that continually strives for equality & justice for all.” Ivanka Trump tweeted on Monday, “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the world’s great heroes. Today we honor his profound life and legacy.”


Proclamation by President Donald Trump of January 15 as federal observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., dedicated his life to a vision:  that all Americans would live free from injustice and enjoy equal opportunity as children of God.  His strong, peaceful, and lifelong crusade against segregation and discrimination brought our Nation closer to the founding ideals set forth in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  Today, as we come together to honor Dr. King, we know that America is stronger, more just, and more free because of his life and work.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. King, who was tragically assassinated on April 4, 1968.  As we approach this solemn milestone, we acknowledge our Nation’s continuing debt to Dr. King’s legacy.  Dr. King advocated for the world we still demand — where the sacred rights of all Americans are protected, rural and urban communities are prosperous from coast to coast, and our limits and our opportunities are defined not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.  We remember the immense promise of liberty that lies at the foundation of our great Republic, the responsibility it demands from all of us who claim its benefits, and the many sacrifices of those who have come before us.

Too often, however, we have neglected these ideals, and injustice has seeped into our politics and our society.  Dr. King’s peaceful crusade for justice and equality opened our Nation’s eyes to the humbling truth that we were very far from fulfilling our obligation to the promises set forth by our forebearers.

The Reverend’s devotion to fighting the injustice of segregation and discrimination ignited the American spirit of fraternity and reminded us of our higher purpose.  Through his words and work, he compelled us to hold ourselves to standards of moral character and integrity that are worthy of our Nation and of our humanity.

Dr. King once said:  “We refuse to believe there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this Nation.”  We must work together to carry forward the American Dream, to ensure it is within reach not only for our children, but for future generations.  As your President, I am committed to building and preserving a Nation where every American has opportunities to achieve a bright future.  That is why we are expanding apprenticeship programs, preparing Americans for the jobs of our modernizing economy.  We are also working every day to enhance access to capital and networks for minority and women entrepreneurs.  With all we do, we aim to empower Americans to pursue their dreams.

Importantly, in paying tribute to Dr. King, we are reminded that the duty lies with each of us to fulfill the vision of his life’s work.  Let us use our time, talents, and resources to give back to our communities and help those less fortunate than us. Particularly today, let us not forget Dr. King’s own tireless spirit and efforts, as we work, celebrate, and pray alongside people of all backgrounds.  As one people, let us rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans, and as people who share a common humanity.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 15, 2018, as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday.  I encourage all Americans to observe this day with appropriate civic, community, and service programs and activities in honor of Dr. King’s life and legacy.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.



January 12, 2018.



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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