Black man in foreground, Martin Luther King Jr. surrounded by other men with sign above saying Now

As the nation prepares to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – one of our greatest Americans – on Monday, President Donald Trump offers a stark contrast in leadership.

The best way to react to Mr. Trump’s latest decidedly non-Presidential outburst is not with anger at his incendiary, vulgar and racially-charged remarks this week about immigrants from “shithole countries.”

The best response is to do what Dr. King fought so hard for. It is to get registered to vote and then to cast ballots in massive and historic numbers. The 2018 midterm elections are just around the corner.

Now more than ever, we must continue Dr. King’s movement to “redeem the soul of America.”

Hours after the world-wide fire storm ignited by his vile words, Mr. Trump is denying saying them. But Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois was in the room where it happened and said today at Chicago’s 32rd annual breakfast celebrating the life of Dr. King that it is “exactly what [Mr. Trump] said and he said it repeatedly.”

When it comes to veracity, I’ll put my faith in the Senator from the Land of Lincoln.

Mr. Trump’s outburst came during a meeting at the White House about immigration reform.

Silence is betrayal. Democrats must demand a vote on a clean Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, bill. They should fight for a reversal of the policy throwing 200,000 El Salvadorians and 60,000 Haitians out of the country.

And Mr. Trump should immediately apologize to the American people for embarrassing our nation before the world and apologize to the countries and the vast continent he insulted – Haiti, El Salvador and Africa.

Perhaps Mr. Trump has no idea that our rich, diverse and powerful nation was built by slaves and immigrants. Perhaps he does not know that 7 of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world during the last decade are in Africa and it is the most resource-rich continent on earth, including rubber from Liberia, gold from Ghana, diamonds and uranium from Congo. Perhaps he does not have a clue that African immigrants to the US are among the most educated groups in the United States. They are professors at some of the major colleges, universities, and other institutions across the U.S. They are doctors and elected officials. They serve in the military and some have made the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation overseas and right here at home.

Just two weeks ago, Emmanuel Mensah, an immigrant from Ghana and member of the National Guard, was home for the holidays and lost his life from smoke inhalation while trying to save people from a deadly apartment fire in the Bronx section of New York City.

It is becoming increasingly and depressingly obvious that there is so much Mr. Trump does not know about the world and his own country he purports to lead. Ignorance is a weapon of mass destruction in the hands of the powerful.

Racism must not be normalized. It must be condemned. Every U.S. Senator and member of Congress must do so immediately. On an issue like this there should be no Republicans or Democrats, just Americans coming together and standing up for what’s right.

That is the best way to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.