Sen. Angus King participated in the March on Washington in 1963 as a 19-year-old college sophomore and once again took to the D.C. streets this weekend, and said Monday the goal of protesters really hasn't changed in the 57 years between — equal protection under the law.
"I was at the March on Washington in 1963 as a 19-year-old college sophomore," the Maine independent senator told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "I ended up sitting in a tree with a young black guy at the Lincoln Memorial and heard the 'I Have a Dream' speech. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life. I woke up Saturday morning and knew there was a protest. I said, 'I've got to go.'"
Equal rights, he added, is "really what this is all about and why I wanted to go, and I'm glad I did. I didn't want to look back five years from now and say, you could have taken part but you didn't. So I was there, and it was a very important and moving experience."
King, meanwhile, said it was a "very serious moment" last week when President Donald Trump warned he'd send active-duty military to cities to quell violent protests.
"Our military has never been political, and they shouldn't be political," said King. "The founding fathers talked about a standing army. That was something they were worried about, so if we're going to have people that are ready, and we do, we need to have them prepared and ready for some attack by foreign adversaries, not our own people."
There is also a risk to the military if it would be used in a political way, as "it would undermine everything the military has tried to do in terms of gaining the confidence of the American people," said King, adding that he's concerned about forces being on the streets who are not displaying any identification.
"That's not America," he said. "That's just not appropriate. I think that's something that ought to be cleared up right away."
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