Martin Luther King Jr.'s Children Hit Back at Mitch McConnell for Mentioning Him in Victory Speech

Martin Luther King Jr.'s adult children hit back at Mitch McConnell after he invoked their father's name during his victory speech on election night.

The Senate Majority Leader defeated his Democratic opponent Amy McGrath to win a seventh term in Kentucky on November 3. In remarks following his win, 78-year-old McConnell recalled how witnessing the late civil rights activist's "I Have A Dream" speech in August 1963 inspired him to do "big things" for this country.

"When I witnessed Dr. Martin Luther King's March on Washington speech as an intern back in 1963, I dreamed about doing big things to help my state and our country," McConnell said.

"I never imagined Kentuckians would make me the longest-serving Senator in our state's history." McConnell has served in the U.S. Senate since 1985.

"Mitch McConnell has had the opportunity to bring police reform and voting rights legislation to the floor of the Senate for months," King's son, Martin Luther King III, told Newsweek.

"If he was truly inspired by my father, he would join the fight to eradicate racism through policies that aim at creating peace, justice, and equity."

He was referencing a House-passed bill that McConnell has yet to take up in the Senate that would restore key parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.

McConnell prompted an outcry after paying tribute to Rep. John Lewis following his death over the summer while that legislation remains in limbo.

Both King and Lewis played an integral role in the passing of the Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discriminatory voting practices.

King's daughter, Bernice King, also issued a rebuke on Twitter, noting McConnell's actions in office hardly align with her father's vision.

"But my father's dream was to create the #BelovedCommunity, in part by eradicating #racism, #militarism and #poverty," she wrote. "Certainly not by denying #healthcare to human beings or by separating Brown immigrant children from their parents."

Others also criticized McConnell for invoking King's name in his victory speech.

"This man should be banned by law from ever uttering the name of Dr. King," MSNBC's Joy Reid tweeted.

"Mitch McConnell heard the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak and dreamed of undermining the Voting Rights Act and suppressing the vote?" the Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie added. "Hands down, he's the worst."

McConnell's office has been contacted for comment.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), delivers his victory speech at the Omni Louisville Hotel on November 3, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. Jon Cherry/Getty Images