(CBS News) – While speaking to the press on Monday, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway was asked by a reporter about how President Trump was observing Martin Luther King Day. In her answer, she speculated that the late civil rights leader would side with Mr. Trump on impeachment.
Conway said President Trump was busy preparing for the World Economic Forum in Davos but “agrees with many of the things Dr. Martin Luther King stood for… including unity and equality.”
She argued that her boss is “not the one trying to tear the country apart through an impeachment process and a lack of substance that really is very shameful at this point.”
“I’ve held my opinion on it,” she continued, “But I don’t think it was in Dr. King’s vision to have Americans drag through a process where a president is not going to be removed from office, is not being charged with bribery, extortion, high crimes or misdemeanors.
“And I think anybody who cares about ‘and justice for all,’ on this day or any day of the year, will appreciate the fact that the president will now have a full-throttle defense on the facts,” she added.
Conway went on to say she was reading up on some of Dr. King’s “lesser known” passages that morning and appreciates that the nation respects him “by giving him his own day.” She also mentioned it was her birthday, too.
The moment, which was part of a longer press gaggle, went viral on Twitter. Journalist Jamil Smith compared Conway’s comments to “blackface on Halloween.”
“This is so ignorant that it cannot be anything but deliberately cruel,” Smith tweeted. “You can count on this kind of rubbish every single Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This isn’t merely gross co-option. It angers people, and she knows it.”
“I am sick and tired of racist white folks like @KellyannePolls lying & declaring they share the same values as MLK,” Bishop Talbert Swan tweeted.
To mark MLK Day, President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., which honors the late civil rights icon who was assassinated in 1968, but whose legacy and message of equality and continues to inspire Americans.
This year, the holiday happened to fall on the third anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration, and in a tweet mentioning MLK Day, Mr. Trump quickly turned his attention to promoting his own record.
“It was exactly three years ago today, January 20, 2017, that I was sworn into office. So appropriate that today is also MLK jr DAY. African-American Unemployment is the LOWEST in the history of our Country, by far. Also, best Poverty, Youth, and Employment numbers, ever. Great!” Trump wrote.
His tweet, much like Conway’s controversial comments, received both positive and negative reaction on Twitter.
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