Trump Meets With Martin Luther King’s Son

January 16, 2017 Updated: January 16, 2017

NEW YORK—President-elect Donald Trump on Monday met with one of the sons of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the holiday marking the life of the slain American icon nearly a half-century after his death. Trump sent out a tweet to mark the occasion.

Days before, Trump had attacked civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis on Twitter in response to Lewis’s remarks on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Lewis, D-Ga., had said Trump’s presidency wasn’t “legitimate” due to Russian hacking allegations. Lewis and the elder King were among the Big Six leaders of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Martin Luther King III downplayed the slight, saying that “in the heat of emotion a lot of things get said on both sides.” King, who said he pressed Trump on the need for voting reform to increase participation, deemed the meeting “constructive.” King said that while he disagreed with the president-elect’s comments, he believed “at some point in this nation we’ve got to move forward.”

“He said that he is going to represent all Americans. He said that over and over again,” King told reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower after the nearly hourlong meeting. “I believe that’s his intent, but I think we also have to consistently engage with pressure, public pressure. It doesn’t happen automatically.”

Trump briefly joined King in the lobby but ignored reporters’ shouted questions about his comments about Lewis.

Lewis had suggested that Trump’s November victory was delegitimized due to alleged Russian interference and said he would boycott Friday’s Inauguration. More than two dozen Democratic members of Congress have said they will sit out the Trump ceremony.

Trump has continued to lash out at his critics in the intelligence community and questioned whether the CIA director himself was “the leaker of fake news” in a Sunday night tweet.

The extraordinary criticism from the incoming president came hours after CIA chief John Brennan charged that Trump lacks a full understanding of the threat Moscow poses to the United States, delivering a public lecture to the president-elect that further highlighted the bitter state of Trump’s relations with certain American intelligence officials.

“Now that he’s going to have an opportunity to do something for our national security as opposed to talking and tweeting, he’s going to have tremendous responsibility to make sure that U.S. and national security interests are protected,” Brennan said on “Fox News Sunday,” warning that the president-elect’s impulsiveness could be dangerous.

Trump shot back in a Twitter post Sunday, saying: “Oh really, couldn’t do much worse – just look at Syria (red line), Crimea, Ukraine and the buildup of Russian nukes. Not good! Was this the leaker of Fake News?”

Additionally, European Union nations bracing for Trump’s ascension showed defiance Monday in the face of the president-elect’s stinging comments on everything from NATO and German cars to the crumbling of the EU itself.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the U.S. president-elect’s view that NATO was obsolete and his criticism that European allied members aren’t paying their fair share had “caused astonishment.”

Trump also said Britain’s decision to leave the 28-nation European Union would “end up being a great thing,” and he predicted that other countries would also leave.