On Monday, a large number of federal lawmakers took to Twitter to post Martin Luther King Day messages, praising the slain civil rights leader’s dream of equality and inclusion. But several of these same people have seemingly declined to actually stand up for those values.
Days after attendees from both parties confirmed that President Trump used racist and vulgar language to describe immigrants from majority non-white countries, many Republican senators have remained silent or declined to disavow his latest blatant act of racism. According to a running list kept by the New York Times, many sidestepped the controversy, made no public statements at all, or defended the president.
Among those commemorating King’s legacy but not speaking out against Trump’s overt racism are:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): No known public statement.
This year marks the 55th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington…Dr. King inspired all of us to walk together in the cause of freedom. https://t.co/2Tj8RGP3HK
— Sen. McConnell Press (@McConnellPress) January 15, 2018
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY): No known public statement.
On #MLKDay, we remember the courageous Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We can honor his legacy by continuing to strive for freedom and equality for all.
— Sen. John Barrasso (@SenJohnBarrasso) January 15, 2018
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC): No known public statement.
Today, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for his tireless efforts in the Civil Rights Movement. I join the rest of the nation in expressing the deepest gratitude for his sacrifices. I know we have work yet to be done and the light of his leadership still shows the way. #MLKDay
— Richard Burr (@SenatorBurr) January 15, 2018
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV): No known public statement.
Dr. King delivered powerful messages throughout his life, but one in particular always stands out to me – Regardless of our differences, we must work together to create a better world. Proud to join WVians today to celebrate this great man on #MLKDay. https://t.co/YxJLNFC1yL pic.twitter.com/NJBZE8wLyy
— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) January 15, 2018
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA): Dismissed “whether he said it or not” as “not the issue.”
— Bill Cassidy (@BillCassidy) January 15, 2018
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): No known public statement.
Dr. King’s courage and vision strengthened America, and his legacy serves as a constant reminder of what we can accomplish when we pursue public service in a way that lifts up each other and our country. #MLKDay
— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) January 15, 2018
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR): Claimed he did not hear Trump’s comments.
With great eloquence and even greater courage, Martin Luther King Jr. challenged our country to live up to our founding principles and recognize our fundamental equality before God. My full statement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day: https://t.co/BeZeHC8xRg pic.twitter.com/fAiKMUzbKy
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) January 15, 2018
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): “I don’t know what was said and what wasn’t said. I can tell you the approach that I’ve tried to take in Washington is to stay out of the nastiness and the attacks and the ‘he said, she said,’ and the insults, and try to focus on substance, try to focus on results, delivering results.”
Today we honor the life and legacy of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Reverend King was a champion of the American creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ -> https://t.co/GUNLP5LRIr pic.twitter.com/w71L7oQNRq
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) January 15, 2018
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT): No known public statement.
— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) January 15, 2018
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA): No known public statement.
Today, let us not only honor the dynamic leader, Martin Luther King Jr., but his eternal message of equality, peace and love for your fellow man. #MLKDay2018
— Joni Ernst (@SenJoniErnst) January 15, 2018
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE): No known public statement.
— Senator Deb Fischer (@SenatorFischer) January 15, 2018
Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV): No known public statement.
— Dean Heller (@DeanHeller) January 15, 2018
Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND): No known public statement.
— Senator John Hoeven (@SenJohnHoeven) January 15, 2018
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK): No known public statement.
— Jim Inhofe (@JimInhofe) January 15, 2018
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA): No known public statement.
Today, we remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We must continue to work together to make sure Dr. King’s dream is fully realized. pic.twitter.com/e8FMwkCalZ
— John Kennedy (@SenJohnKennedy) January 15, 2018
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): Criticized others for drawing conclusions from Trump’s comments.
There will always be the laws of men. But #MartinLutherKing showed us that there is sometimes a higher calling, a duty to one’s nation and God that requires resisting conventional standards or laws. https://t.co/lp9ITzQKkr
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 15, 2018
Sen. David Perdue (R-GA): Claimed he did not hear Trump’s comments.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to the advancement of peace, justice, and liberty. His teachings are an inspiration to all Americans. #MLKDay
— David Perdue (@sendavidperdue) January 15, 2018
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD): No known public statement.
— Senator Mike Rounds (@SenatorRounds) January 15, 2018
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): A series of tweets praising immigrants but making no mention of Trump’s comments.
This #MLKDay I urge everyone to reflect on the principles that Martin Luther King Jr. peacefully defended so that as a nation we can continue to embody his dream of opportunity and equality for all. pic.twitter.com/BPZXO68qnB
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) January 15, 2018
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL): No known public statement.
This year marks 50 yrs since the tragic assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Today we take time to honor & reflect on his legacy & dedication to equality. We must continue to focus on his vision for the world, working to accomplish his dream of unifying our nation. #MLKDay
— Richard Shelby (@SenShelby) January 15, 2018
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC): No known public statement.
Today, we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose inspirational and visionary leadership challenged our nation to set a higher standard of freedom and liberty for all Americans. #MLKDay pic.twitter.com/DGCaAEuZ5J
— Senator Thom Tillis (@SenThomTillis) January 15, 2018
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS): No known public statement.
— Senator Roger Wicker (@SenatorWicker) January 15, 2018
Sen. Todd Young (R-IN): No known public statement.
— Senator Todd Young (@SenToddYoung) January 15, 2018
A year ago, many of these same legislators tweeted pro-King statements days before voting to confirm Attorney General Jeff Sessions — a man with a record so racist that King’s widow Coretta wrote in 1986 that his confirmation to a federal judgeship would “irreparably damage” her late husband’s work.
In March 1965, King said in a Selma, Alabama sermon, “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.”
This post will be updated as more Senators tweet.