An Obama administration official said that nonviolent icon Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would “understand” and “recognize” the need for the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan if he were alive today.
In a speech commemorating the late hero days before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, the Department of Defense’s general counsel Jeh C. Johnson imputed highly questionable views to the civil rights leader.
“I believe that if Dr. King were alive today, he would recognize that we live in a complicated world, and that our nation’s military should not and cannot lay down its arms and leave the American people vulnerable to terrorist attack,” Johnson said.
Johnson claimed US service members are helping the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, noting that Dr. King spoke out in favor of acts of kindness.
“I draw the parallel to our own servicemen and women deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, away from the comfort of conventional jobs, their families and their homes,” Johnson said, adding that the “dangerous unselfishness” of the troops would make Dr. King proud.
The claim sparked controversy as critics were quick to note that Dr. King was an ardent anti-war activist who spoke out against military interventions.
Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill called it “[o]ne of the most despicable attempts at revisionist use of Martin Luther King Jr. I’ve ever seen.”
Salon’s Justin Elliott remarked that Dr. King’s “political philosophy, as outlined in his landmark 1967 speech against the Vietnam war, strongly suggests that he would be an opponent of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, for that matter, the secret wars in Yemen and Pakistan.”
In the speech, Dr. King lamented “the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor, weak nation more than 8000 miles from its shores.”
He called the United States “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” and said: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
The Pentagon release goes on to note that Johnson, an African-American, is a graduate of Morehouse College, Dr. King’s alma mater, where he attended school with Dr. King’s son.
‘The world is on fire!’ Fox News pundit stunned after Trump decides to host G7 at his golf club
Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt was stunned by the White House decision to host next year's G7 summit at a property owned by President Donald Trump.
White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced the international gathering would be held at Trump's struggling Doral golf course in Florida, and even the conservative Stirewalt couldn't believe the decision.
"The idea that this administration, dealing with what this administration is dealing with, right? A lot -- the unraveling in Syria, you’ve got the march to impeachment here at home, breaking news story every day. The world is on fire. Why?"
Hosting the G-7 at Doral is still worth a million dollars to Trump — even if he donates all the profits: reporter
President Donald Trump's chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said that holding the G7 summit at Trump's Doral resort would not be a profit for the president. Reports about it fly in the face of the White House claims, however.
The Miami Herald reported in July, when Trump floated the idea, that Doral is in a financial rut and the G7 meeting could help Trump climb out of it.
"Hosting foreign dignitaries has been a financial boon for Trump’s private Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago Club, providing some insight into what financial gains might be expected from hosting the G7 Summit at Trump Doral," said The Herald.
‘This has become the catch-us-if-you-can administration’ after Mulvaney blows off corruption: CNN’s Jim Acosta
On Thursday, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney dismissed concerns that the Trump administration had pressured the government of Ukraine to dig up information on political rivals.
"We do that all the time. Get over it," Mulvaney told reporters. "Politics is going to be involved in foreign policy--elections do have consequences."
CNN's Jim Acosta observed Thursday afternoon that corruption has just become the norm for Trump and his aides.
"I think that's probably a pretty remarkable admission coming from the acting Chief of Staff," Acosta said.
"You could almost read between the lines here where the acting Chief of Staff was almost saying to everybody in the room here, 'Catch us if you can.'"