President Trump on Friday held a commemorative ceremony for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., ahead of the federal holiday Monday in honor of the groundbreaking civil rights pioneer. But what should have been a routine celebration of one of America's most vaunted historical figures quickly turned awkward, given the president, not 24 hours earlier, had reportedly insulted a swath of African nations — and maybe Haiti too — as "shithole countries."
Before signing a proclamation for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Trump praised King for his work. "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 said.
"Today, we celebrate Dr. King for standing up for the self-evident truth that 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," President Trump says https://t.co/PR1zRjimvi pic.twitter.com/H4DZy7Diqf
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 12, 2018
The president then exited the commemoration of a leading equal-rights advocate to shouted questions from reporters, including an inquiry from Urban Radio Networks' April Ryan as to whether or not he is "a racist." Watch the excruciating irony below. Kimberly Alters
After signing MLK Day proclamation, Trump is asked by reporters, "Mr. President, will you give an apology for the statement yesterday? Mr President, did you refer to African nations as shitholes? Mr President, are you a racist?" pic.twitter.com/cvmkmaPI74
— David Mack (@davidmackau) January 12, 2018