Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Martin Luther King III took jabs at President Donald Trump at a rally in New Jersey Tuesday night while protesting his visit to lend support to Rep. Jeff Van Drew's re-election campaign.
The 3-hour Democratic rally took place a few blocks from Wildwood Convention Center, where a wave of supporters gathered to see Trump and support Van Drew. The congressman recently switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party amid efforts to impeach the president.
The son of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Van Drew's challenger, Amy Kennedy, protested Tuesday's Republican rally. The Wildwood Boardwalk separated the two events, though a sizable crowd of Trump supporters heckled the demonstrating Democrats, chanting "four more years."
King said he was invited by Kennedy to attend the rally, sponsored by the progressive group Cape May County Indivisible, The wife of former Rep. Patrick Kennedy and daughter-in-law of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy recently entered the race to unseat Van Drew in New Jersey's 2nd District.
While King never mentioned Trump by name, he tweaked the president's "Make America Great Again" campaign motto to say that not everyone is sharing in the country's economic prosperity.
"Maybe for some it's all right, but the reality is that it should be great for all Americans," King said. "We live in a country with unlimited resources, yet we have millions of people who don't have healthcare. We have millions of people who are homeless; millions of people aren't getting properly educated. That's not the America we should be."
King told the attendees that voters should try to elect candidates that will bring people together and "not divide us," in another subtle dig at Trump.
"It's all right for us to disagree, but we can disagree in a civil manner, not a disrespectful manner. Not in a manner that denigrates others. Not in a manner where we promote hate. We have to find a way to promote love," he said.
Kennedy played on her New Jersey roots and experience as a school teacher to touch on issues including gun control, tax cuts and immigration.
"I was a public school teacher, a mother of five kids and a mental health advocate," she said. "I know we are not well. I know it is not OK for our students to be doing drills hiding under their desk because they're afraid of guns. I know it's not OK to give big tax cuts to corporations while people in our district can't afford to stay in their homes. I know it's not OK to have [migrant] kids in cages instead of cribs."
Will Cunningham, a former staffer for Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who is also challenging Van Drew for his seat, said the congressman betrayed the district when he switched parties and doesn't deserve to remain in office.
"We are at this rally in solidarity to say what Jeff Van Drew has done to this community is unacceptable," Cunningham said. "His support for this president in a slap in our face and he will be held accountable in 2020 for his decision."
Atlantic County Freeholder Ashley Bennett said she joined the race to unseat Van Drew because he and Trump lack the unity and respect to be inclusive.
"I think the divisiveness that was started by this president is unhealthy for this country and we have to say 'no' to that," Bennett said. "I think love will always trump hate and respect will always trump hate."
But for thousands that crowded in front of the convention center and stood in lines overnight to attend the rally for Van Drew, Trump has been a godsend to the United States.
"People down there can't tell me one thing what he's done wrong," Bob Emmett, of Williamstown, N.J., said as he looked down from the boardwalk on the protest rally. "God bless Donald Trump. Just think what he could have done if he wasn't being exposed every day to the liberals. He's the greatest president in the history of the country."