Reporters ask Trump 'Mr. President, are you racist?' after MLK address

  • President Donald Trump delivered a speech to honor the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination on Friday morning, just a day after he allegedly used the term "shithole" to describe Haiti and African countries. 
  • "Mr. President, are you a racist?" reporters called out after the event concluded.
  • Lawmakers and political leaders, including from the president's own party, are calling Trump's Thursday remarks racist. 


President Donald Trump delivered a speech to honor the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination on Friday morning, just a day after he allegedly used the term "shithole" to describe Haiti and African countries during a meeting with lawmakers.

"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump said, according to several media outlets, including The Washington Postand Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin.

As Trump shook hands with several event attendees on Friday, reporters called out questions concerning his Thursday comments.

"Mr. President, are you a racist?" one reporter repeatedly asked. Others asked if the president had, in fact, used the term "shithole" in reference to the countries. Another asked if Durbin is lying about his version of the Oval Office meeting.

RELATED: Stars react to Donald Trump's 'sh-thole' comment

21 PHOTOS
Stars react to Donald Trump's 'sh-thole' comment
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Stars react to Donald Trump's 'sh-thole' comment
Hmmm numbers 2 and 21 are very similar but the initia lie is different than the continued racism post exoneration s… https://t.co/tzRy1DmjuP
Ok 3 more and I’ll def know for sure https://t.co/wOaxLFuXes
Come on now....this is inexcusable https://t.co/5spIRN4R2t
Annnnnd.... virulently racist https://t.co/1bBU4ZkVt6
We are all sons and daughters of immigrants https://t.co/VFX8xOVk7A
I am mortified that our brothers and sisters in Haiti & Africa have hear the blathering of the idiotic 🇺🇸 President.
https://t.co/70mjHuZYrP
🤜🏾🤛🏾 https://t.co/zPYGNNHhMQ
UM #NeverForget 💩🕳 https://t.co/wN5i2M0z6q
Tonight at 11/10c, as someone from South Shithole, Trevor is deeply offended by the president’s remarks. https://t.co/4dTaMapmSG
TONIGHT: You better believe if the President is speaking his mind about certain [redacted] countries, Stephen's spe… https://t.co/itUAoOb79V
From tonight’s #LNSM: @SethMeyers responds to Trump’s remarks on “s**thole countries.” https://t.co/gUjCosn7Fn
I’m just gonna start calling him president Shithole.
Our nation was founded by immigrants, built by immigrants, made great by immigrants. They came war torn, oppressed… https://t.co/ELhZsJ6ytX
You are a racist liar. https://t.co/tUMmLqLDm4
Countries don’t immigrate, people do. The quality of a person isn’t determined by their surroundings. The point is… https://t.co/Zz5i2p2mRo
If they aren’t shithole countries, why don’t their citizens stay there? Let’s be honest. Call it like it is.
Haiti you are LOVED ❤️ https://t.co/4f4N91i9Mm
What do the people in 56 different African nations and in Haiti have in common? They are all black. Trump has not d… https://t.co/xGSuFOxcae
How is he allowed to talk to us this way?!! Are there no more moral and ethical codes left in America since he took… https://t.co/yXIArgqmca
The United States is supposed to take people from shithole countries. That’s the whole point, you dotard.
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Trump has railed against the diversity visa lottery program and special temporary status protections that bring in at least 50,000 immigrants from around the world and allow them to reside in the US legally. His reported remarks took place in the context of a debate over the merits of those programs. 

The president specifically criticized protections the US gives to immigrants from various underdeveloped countries, including Haiti, El Salvador, and some African countries, during the Thursday meeting.

He reportedly also asked, "Why do we need more Haitians?" and suggested the US government should "take them out."

On Friday, Trump took to Twitter to defend using "tough" language, but said he "never said anything derogatory" about Haitians and suggested he should record future meetings with lawmakers.

But Durbin, who attended the Thursday meeting, insisted on Friday that Trump repeatedly used the term "shithole" to describe Haiti and African countries. 

"To no surprise, the president started tweeting this morning denying that he is using those words. It is not true. He said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly," Durbin told reporters

Trump's remarks were nearly universally condemned as racist and demeaning, sparking an immediate backlash from international leaders and domestic lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans. 

"I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Donald Trump is a racist," Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona tweeted. "Bigotry should have no place at the White House."

On Friday, former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele called the president a racist.

"I think at this point, I mean the evidence is incontrovertible, it's right there," Steele said when asked by MSNBC host Hallie Jackson whether the president is a racist.

Brennan Weiss contributed to this report.

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Senator on Trump 'shithole countries' comment: 'He said those hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly'

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