Martin Luther King III: Trump's vulgar comments are 'extremely racist'

Something wrong 'when you make comments that way'

By SASHA ZIENTS, CNN
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Martin Luther King III

(CNN) - Nearly 50 years after his father's assassination, Martin Luther King III said Monday that he believes President Donald Trump's vulgar and demeaning language to describe immigrants from Africa was "extremely racist."

"I think that the President has got to be engaged in some sensitivity and heart changing," King said on "Chris Cuomo Prime Time." "When I say heart, we've got to appeal to his heart because there's something wrong -- it seems to me -- when you make comments that way."

King, who is the president and CEO of Realizing the Dream, a nonprofit dedicated to continuing the legacy and unfinished work of his parents, stopped short of labeling President Trump a racist.

"Some may go further and say he is a racist, what I am saying is his comments were extraordinarily racist," King said.

Asked about his niece Dr. Alveda King's comments defending the President, King said "no family is monolithic" and that he would push back on her claims that Trump follows Dr. King's teachings.

King recounted Trump's meeting with Pope Francis, at which the President gave the Pope a first-edition set of Martin Luther King Jr.'s writings.

"What I would implore the President to do is to get those books for himself and to read them and then he can begin to understand who Martin Luther King Jr. was," King said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Monday was the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

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