In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday a “day on, not a day off.” For years after signing the King Holiday and Service Act, Bill Clinton held rallies and echoed the words of Dr. King.
George W. Bush and Barack Obama further upheld the notion of doing public good on the holiday.
In 2008, for example, Bush visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.
In 2015, for one illustration, the Obama administration wrote about their plans:
Throughout the day, the President and the First Lady, the Vice President, Cabinet secretaries, and other senior Administration officials are participating in a number of community service projects.
The President and the First Lady headed to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington, where they were joined by Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson, and Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Wendy Spencer.
On Friday, Donald Trump encouraged all Americans to celebrate Dr. King’s life “with acts of civic work and community service.”
He then left the White House and headed down to Mar-a-Lago for a long weekend.
For previous presidents on either side of the aisle, MLK Day was not only a commitment to saying the words encouraging others to act, but also being a true leader and exemplifying those pronouncements.
For Trump, it’s merely an extra day to work on his putting.
361 days in, 1101 to go