These senators stayed silent on Trump’s racism. Now they are ‘celebrating’ Martin Luther King Jr.

"A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right."

Martin Luther King Jr. meeting with Lyndon Johnson in 1966
Martin Luther King Jr. meeting with Lyndon Johnson in 1966. CREDIT: LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto

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.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY): No known public statement.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC): No known public statement.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV): No known public statement.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA): Dismissed “whether he said it or not” as “not the issue.”

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): No known public statement.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR): Claimed he did not hear Trump’s comments.

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.”

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT): No known public statement.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA): No known public statement.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE): No known public statement.

Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV): No known public statement.

Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND): No known public statement.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK): No known public statement.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA): No known public statement.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): Criticized others for drawing conclusions from Trump’s comments.

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA): Claimed he did not hear Trump’s comments.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD): No known public statement.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): A series of tweets praising immigrants but making no mention of Trump’s comments.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL): No known public statement.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC): No known public statement.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS): No known public statement.

Sen. Todd Young (R-IN): No known public statement.

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.