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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.”

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.

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.