President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE on Friday ignored White House reporter April Ryan's question as to whether he is a racist after an event honoring Martin Luther King Jr. over Trump's reported remark referring to some nations as "shithole countries."
Trump signed a proclamation honoring Martin Luther King Jr. ahead of the civil rights leader's namesake holiday. After the event, where Trump was flanked by top African-American supporters including Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBen CarsonRepublicans are the 21st-century Know-Nothing Party Sunday shows preview: Delta concerns prompt CDC mask update; bipartisan infrastructure bill to face challenges in Senate Government indoctrination, whether 'critical' or 'patriotic,' is wrong MORE, Trump ignored shouted questions from reporters who asked if he would apologize for his remarks.
"Mr. President, are you a racist?" Ryan, a reporter for Urban Radio Networks and a CNN contributor, could be heard asking.
Trump, ignoring the question, quickly exited the room. The president did not take questions from White House pool reporters after his brief remarks Friday morning.
On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that Trump had questioned why the U.S. accepts immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and some nations in Africa, calling those places "shithole countries," when instead it could take more from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister Trump recently met.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump reportedly asked.
The remarks were not denied by the White House in an initial statement from spokesman Raj Shah Thursday night, and they remained unchallenged by the Trump administration until a pair of tweets from the president early Friday.
"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," Trump tweeted Friday morning.
The remarks were met with widespread criticism on Capitol Hill, including from some Republicans such as Haitian-American Rep. Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) Love'The View' plans series of conservative women as temporary McCain replacements Black Republican advocates his case for CBC membership Black women look to build upon gains in coming elections MORE (R-Utah).
Trump's words were "unkind, divisive, elitist and fly in the face of our nation's values," Love said in a statement.
"My parents came from one of those countries, took an oath of allegiance to it, and took on the responsibilities of everything that being a citizen comes with," she added.