Conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens on Monday accused Donald Trump of treating Martin Luther King Jr. Day as “a holiday for those people,” arguing the president is turning the country to “the United States of white identity politics.”
“This morning, I read ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail,’” Stephens told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace. “I think anyone watching this show right now should take ten minutes from their day and go and just honor Dr. King by reading that. While I was reading it, I was reminded, Martin Luther King day is my holiday. It’s not the African-American holiday. That’s the way Donald Trump is treating it, ‘it’s a holiday for those people.’”
“It’s my holiday. It’s an American holiday and it’s important,” Stephens explained. “… It has national security implications, because the United States is the country of Martin Luther King, not Idi Amin, not Adolf Hitler, not other racial or ethnic dividers or bigots. What gives the United States its attractive power, what gives the United States moral authority when we go and fight in Niger or Somalia or elsewhere, is that we are the nation of Dr. King. We have that sort of uniquely universalistic message that we are all brothers and sisters and equal under god.”
“I think this is what is so profoundly corrosive and damaging and almost irreversible about the Trump administration, that if you are looking at the United States today from Vietnam, from South Africa, from elsewhere in the world, can you say that about the United States? The United States has become the United States of white identity politics, Donald Trump, division, and disrespect.”
“It’s profoundly corrosive,” Stpehens said.