John Lewis on Trump 's---hole' comment: Racism 'must be in his DNA'

Rep. John LewisJohn LewisOvernight Finance: Senate rejects Trump immigration plan | U.S. Bancorp to pay 0M in fines for lacking money laundering protections | Cryptocurrency market overcharges users | Prudential fights to loosen oversight Treasury says Mnuchin wasn't calling for Congress to examine gun issues Trump nominates Martin Luther King Jr.'s niece to federal planning commission MORE (D-Ga.) slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE on Friday for his comment about “shithole countries," suggesting racism “must be in his DNA.”

“I think the words and his actions tend to speak like one who knows something about being a racist,” Lewis said in an MSNBC interview. “It must be in his DNA, in his makeup, but it’s frightening to have someone in the office of the president in 2018 speaking the way that he’s speaking.”

Lewis said that the comments were “unreal” and “unbelievable,” and added that the president is “not really in tune” with the American people.

“We’re one people, we’re one family, we all live in the same house,” he said. “I don’t think language like this is in keeping with the future of our country or the future of the planet.”

Lewis said that the comments were “incompatible” with Trump signing a proclamation Friday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

“You cannot speak the words of tolerance and peace and love … and then put down a group of people, a nation of people because of the color of their skin or what part of the world they may come from,” Lewis said.

Trump’s comments, made during a private meeting with lawmakers in reference to immigrants from Haiti and some African countries, have prompted backlash from lawmakers and world leaders.

While critics have referred to Trump’s comments about immigration in the past as being “racially charged” or “insensitive,” many from both parties are now calling the president racist

Some of the harshest criticism came from Lewis's fellow Democrats. Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinLawmakers feel pressure on guns Feinstein: Trump must urge GOP to pass bump stock ban Florida lawmakers reject motion to consider bill that would ban assault rifles MORE (Calif.) accused Trump of “promoting a homogenous, white society” with the remarks.

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinAmerica’s waning commitment to the promise of the First Amendment Senate rejects Trump immigration plan What to watch for in the Senate immigration votes MORE (D-Ill.), who was present at the Thursday meeting, confirmed the comments.

The White House initially did not deny them, but Trump tweeted Friday morning that it was “not the language used” in the meeting. Two GOP lawmakers at the meeting said they did not recall the comments.