President Donald Trump made an unannounced visit to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in the National Mall Monday morning, where he laid a wreath in honor of the national holiday celebrating the historic civil rights leader.
“It’s a great day. A beautiful day. Thank you for being here. Appreciate it,” Trump told reporters after a moment of silence, according to USA Today.
The visit reportedly lasted two minutes before Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who accompanied him, returned to the motorcade to get out of single-digit temperatures.
Trump began his day with an early-morning tweet honoring King and the unity for which he fought.
Trump’s tweet also included a Presidential Proclamation noting the Trump Administration’s progress towards job creation and criminal justice reform—efforts for the “advancement of equality and justice for all Americans.”
“May the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the efforts we have made to fully effectuate his dream remind us that faith and love unite us together as one great American family,” wrote Trump.
According to Politico, prior to the surprise visit, the president’s schedule for the day had been criticized for not containing any public appearances in honor of MLK Day.
Pence was also criticized earlier for referencing King in support of Trump’s demands for a border wall.
“One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King was, ‘Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy,'” he said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation. “You think of how he changed America. He inspired us to change through the legislative process to become a more perfect union. That’s exactly what President Trump is calling on the Congress to do.”
King’s son, Martin Luther King III, negated Pence’s comparison at a breakfast honoring his father on Monday.
“Martin Luther King Jr. was a bridge builder, not a wall builder,” he said. “Martin Luther King Jr. would say, ‘Love, not hate, will make America great.'”