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Rev. Jesse Jackson talks Dr. King, Trump, and U.S. policies

By Askia Muhammad -Senior Editor- | Last updated: Jan 31, 2018 - 9:17:58 AM

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WASHINGTON — As President Donald J. Trump signaled a possibly less abrasive second year in office, following the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and ahead of his first State of the Union address, the Rev. Jesse Jackson criticized Mr. Trump in no uncertain terms, and in the name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Dr. King in the era of Trump: You know Moses had to deal with his Pharaoh. Jesus with Herod in Rome; Dr. King with George Wallace; what would he do today?” the Rev. Jackson told The Final Call Jan. 28 after his sermon at Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Ft. Washington, Md.

In his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, Mr. Trump was expected to set aside his more combative tone and combative style, for one of compromise and bipartisanship, aides told reporters Jan 28, two days before the speech.

The president’s staff promised he would take credit for the nation’s economic progress under his watch. The White House told reporters that day that the president would point to and take credit for a robust economy and low unemployment during his first year as well as the benefits of his major tax overhaul.

“The president is going to talk about how America’s back,” White House legislative director Marc Short said Jan. 28, according to published reports. “The president is also going to make an appeal to Democrats … to say we need to rebuild our country. And to make an appeal that to do infrastructure, we need to do it in a bipartisan way.”

But the Rev. Jackson is uncomfortable with most Trump administration policies. Once a chief lieutenant in charge of Dr. King’s “Operation Breadbasket,” and a two-time presidential candidate, the Rev. Jackson accused Mr. Trump of “misleading” people.” He called the president: a “man of inherited wealth and privilege who seems to have no understanding of our situation.”

If he was alive today, Dr. King would likely have some of the more urgent issues facing this country, on his agenda, the Rev. Jackson continued. “Firstly, (President) Trump has determined, he and (Attorney General Jeff) Sessions, have determined, to unravel everything Dr. King put together.

“The first thing they’ve tried to unravel is the right to vote. Dr. King would be fighting to protect the right to vote. Second, he would be fighting to protect worker’s rights, women’s rights. Nine million children need CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). People (are) dying from flu, and you’re cutting CHIP. It’s irrational,” the Rev. Jackson said of the Trump domestic policy.

“This foreign policy, he’d be fighting to unite the world, not threaten to blow them up. As for Africa and Haiti: Haiti fought for the American Revolutionary War. There’s a statue in Savannah, of Haitian soldiers who defended us in the Revolutionary War. And if (Toussaint) L’Ouverture had not defeated Napoleon in Haiti, we’d all be speaking French today. The French were trying to expand here. So, Haiti is a big deal,” he continued.

For his part, Mr. Trump was attempting to use the State of the Union address to move his government past the shadow of the ongoing Russia investigation. But Mr. Trump’s foreign policies are contrary to common sense, critics argue.

“On the African part,” the Rev. Jackson continued, “every tire on these cars come from Liberia, and the cocoa and the gold come from Ghana, and the diamonds and the uranium come from the Congo,” illustrating why Africa should receive favored treatment in U.S. foreign policy.