Trump Declines to Deny That He’s Racist When Asked at MLK Event
The morning after the Washington Post reported that President Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and the entire continent of Africa as “shithole countries,” stating that he’d prefer to receive immigrants from places like Norway, the commander-in-chief hosted a White House event honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
“He stirred the hearts of our people to recognize the dignity written in every human soul,” Trump read from a prepared statement before signing an official declaration making January 15 a federal holiday. “Today we celebrate Dr. King for standing up for the self-evident truth Americans hold so dear, that no matter what the color of our skin or the place of our birth, we are all created equal by God.”
Trump: “I will now sign the proclamation making January 15, 2018 the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday, and encourage all Americans to observe this day with acts of civic work and community service in honor of Dr. King’s extraordinary life…and it was extraordinary indeed.” pic.twitter.com/CYSHWwH5sZ
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) January 12, 2018
The most noteworthy aspect of the photo op came at the end of the event when the president ignored pointed questions from the press pool about his incendiary remarks as he was flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and a group of black supporters, including Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson.
Reporters yell questions at Trump after he signs MLK Day proclamation: “Mr President, are you a racist?” pic.twitter.com/GsOA9jaPoM
— Marcus Gilmer (@marcusgilmer) January 12, 2018
As Trump is shaking his supporters’ hands, American Urban Radio Networks reporter and CNN contributor April Ryan is heard asking “Mr. President, will you give an apology for the statement yesterday?” Trump ignores her and just keeps socializing with his guests with his back turned to the pool.
“Mr. President, are you a racist?” Ryan asked as Trump made his way to the door. “Mr. President, will you respond to these serious questions about your statement, sir?”
The president responded by leaving the room.
On Friday morning, the president wrote a tweet denying that he said “anything derogatory about Haitians,” a claim denied by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), who was present at the immigration reform meeting.
Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said “take them out.” Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018