Controversial members of congress criticised for ‘tone deaf’ MLK Day tweets

Controversial members of Congress received backlash after people on Twitter called them out for their “tone deaf” tributes to civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr. while blocking legislation that would increase voting rights.

Many legislators such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) shared posts in celebration of Dr King and his legacy.

Still, others like California House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senator Krysten Sinema faced criticism for their refusal to pass the voting legislation, which the King family supports.

The plan would increase voting rights across the country and reinstate key components of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The bill passed the House of Representatives last week with just Democratic support, and it now faces a tough fight in the Senate.

“From the halls of Ebenezer Baptist Church to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, #MLK spent his life spreading what he called “the gospel of freedom,” McCarthy wrote in part.

However, many people on Twitter were quick to point out that no one from the Republican caucus voted for the bill.

“Wanna celebrate a great American? Pass Voting Rights. Anything else is a whole lot of balloon juice,” wrote writer Bryan Behar.

“Do the right thing. Tell what you know and pass the voting rights act. Redeem yourself. Take the right path. No more of this!” another added.

On the other hand, Sinema also wrote a statement about Dr King, which received criticism over her stance on the bill.

“Today we remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. #MLKDay,” she wrote.

“Kill the filibuster and make sure all Americans can vote. If not, be quiet. Equity is of no interest to you,” wrote author John Pavlovitz.

“Does the leadership that works tirelessly to completely undermine Dr. King’s legacy ever consider that today would be a good day to just shut the fuck up? Like, silence is a real option,” asked contributing writer for The Atlantic Jemele Hill.

A third added: “Imagine being this proud of being this tone deaf.”

Even Bernice King responded to Sinema’s post and said that the voting legislation “is among the most authentic ways to honour my father”.

Check out other reactions below:

Despite Sinema supporting the overall bill itself, she happens to oppose the Senate rule, also understood as the filibuster to pass it.

To halt debate on the legislation, the filibuster requires at least 60 votes. In a Senate with an equal split, at least ten Republicans would have to vote to conclude the debate.

None of them have indicated that they intend to do so.

Dr King’s family urged Senator Joe Manchin and Sinema to campaign for an amendment to the filibuster to allow the voting rights law to advance.

They even went to Phoenix, Arizona, to march with local activists to discuss the importance of “no celebration without legislation.”

“I can’t imagine what my mother and father would say about that. I’m sure they’re turning over and over in their graves about this,” Martin Luther King III said.

On Monday, he also took to his Twitter to write that he will “not accept empty promises in pursuit of my father’s dream.”

“I do not want to see photo ops of elected officials if they are not willing to put voting rights over the filibuster. Today is a day of service and action. Congress must #DeliverForVotingRights,” he wrote.

Indy100 reached out to the offices of Sinema and McCarthy for comment.

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