US Politics

Mike Pence compares Donald Trump to Martin Luther King Jr

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Mike Pence used a line from the late civil rights leader's 'I have a dream' speech to evoke support for Donald Trump's proposed wall to segregate the US from Mexico.

US Vice President Mike Pence has likened President Donald Trump to Dr Martin Luther King Jr, suggesting the late civil rights leader would have supported the building of a wall along the US-Mexico border.

Speaking on CBS, Mr Pence used a line from Dr King's well known "I have a dream" speech in an attempt to build support for Mr Trump's proposed border wall.

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy

"One of my favourite quotes from Dr King was 'now is the time to make real the promises of democracy'. You think of how he changed America," Mr Pence told CBS 

"He inspired us to change through the legislative process to become a more perfect union. That's exactly what President Trump is calling on the Congress to do" Come to the table in a spirit of good faith. We'll secure our border, we'll reopen our government."
 
Mike Pence and Donald Trump at the memorial
President Donald Trump and VP Mike Pence (L) laid a wreath at the Martin Luther King Jr memorial. (AAP)
 
Dr King's son criticised the comments while speaking at a breakfast in Washington to mark Martin Luther King Day on Monday.

"Now, Martin Luther King Jr was a bridge builder, not a wall builder. Martin Luther King Jr would say love not hate would make America great. Did you all hear that? Love not hate would make America great. See, we hadn't achieved, we've had spurts of greatness,"  Martin Luther King III told CNN.

American Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968) (center) delivers his iconic 'I Have a Dream' speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Washington DC, August 28, 1963 (Francis Miller)

People on Twitter were also quick to tell Mr Pence exactly what they thought of his comparison.

Mr Pence made the controversial comments about Martin Luther King Jr on Sunday during a discussion with CBS host Margaret Brennan about ending the government shutdown, sparked by a dispute about the border wall.

The shutdown began on December 22 when US Congress and President Donald Trump failed to agree on an appropriations bill to fund the operations of the federal government for the 2019 fiscal year. It stemmed from an impasse over Mr Trump's demand for $5.7 billion in federal funds to build a US-Mexico border wall.

In an attempt to end the shutdown, Mr Trump on Saturday offered to temporarily shield a million immigrants from deportation if Congress authorises funding for his Mexican border wall - an idea Democrats rejected.

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