Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., accused Sen. Elizabeth Warren of performing a “bait and switch” and playing the “race card” in invoking the King family name during her speech Tuesday night in opposition to Sen. Jeff Sessions’ appointment as attorney general.
Warren spent a significant portion of her 50-minute speech from the Senate floor reading from a letter Dr. King’s late widow, Coretta Scott King, wrote in opposition to the appointment of Sessions to be a federal district court judge in 1986.
The letter sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee charged Sessions, then a U.S. attorney serving in Alabama, with being too zealous in his prosecution of a voter fraud case, which involved a drive to get more African-Americans to vote by absentee ballot.
In the letter, King stated that some of those involved in the effort had fought alongside her husband during the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
Warren’s reading of the letter, along with her quoting the late Sen. Edward Kennedy as saying Sessions was a “disgrace to the Justice Department,” prompted the acting president of the Senate, Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., to first warn her about the body’s debate rules regarding impugning the character of a fellow senator and then direct her to take her seat several minutes later when she persisted.
Fox News host Neil Cavuto asked Alveda King what she thought about the incident on his Wednesday program.
“If we take a look at my aunt Coretta Scott King’s letter, we know that she was a peacemaker,” she said. “Her intentions were never to divide during her whole life.”
King pointed out that she worked for her aunt for several years as communications and correspondence secretary, which would give her more insight into Coretta Scott King’s thinking than most.
King added that her aunt was a “reasonable person” and would note Session has “done some great work in fighting against discrimination.”
“I believe that if she could look at the record of Sen. Sessions today, with integrity, she would say, ‘Well, he has worked to prosecute the Ku Klux Klan, he has worked to desegregate public schools,’” King stated.
Sessions refuted charges of racism at his hearing in the 1980s, and supporters point out that as Alabama’s attorney general in the 1990s, he pushed to desegregate public schools and prosecuted the former head of the Ku Klux Klan, ensuring he received the death penalty in a case involving the abduction and murder of a black teenager.
King criticized the tactic of “using the name of Martin Luther King Jr. and now Mrs. Coretta Scott King to get people’s emotions stirred so they cannot clearly get the message” of peacemaking. She called it “the old bait and switch, with the race card being played. … People will never look at the issues. People will never see the solutions. They’ll be angry and then we can slip our agenda in.”