The Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative service has long been a favorite stop for politicians. But this year’s event, coming just days before Donald Trump’s inauguration, will feature an extra infusion of politics.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is one of Trump’s fiercest critics, will deliver a “special tribute” at Monday’s Ebenezer Baptist Church ceremony. Other Democrats set to attend include Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Rep. Hank Johnson.
And the church’s pastor, Rev. Raphael Warnock, is himself a rising star in Georgia Democratic politics. He seriously considered a run for the U.S. Senate last year before deciding against it.
His opponent would have been Sen. Johnny Isakson, who is among a handful of Republican leaders who will be on hand. Isakson has attended every King celebration for years and this time he’s bringing a protégé – Chris Carr, Georgia’s newly-minted attorney general.
One Georgia leader who won’t attend is Gov. Nathan Deal.
The two-term Republican last spoke at the ceremony in 2014, when he announced plans to add a certain civil rights leader's name to a prominent spot on the Capitol grounds. This year, he plans to attend a smaller ceremony on Friday at the statehouse.