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

Rep. John LewisJohn LewisThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Trump, Pence fan out to protect the Rust Belt Atlanta mayor signs bill to change Confederate street names Under attack: Because we don’t vote Republican MORE (D-Ga.) slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Gillum and DeSantis’s first debate GOP warns economy will tank if Dems win Gorbachev calls Trump's withdrawal from arms treaty 'a mistake' 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.

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“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 FeinsteinDurbin to Trump: ‘We’re the mob? Give me a break’ Sen. Walter Huddleston was a reminder that immigration used to be a bipartisan issue GOP plays hardball in race to confirm Trump's court picks MORE (Calif.) accused Trump of “promoting a homogenous, white society” with the remarks.

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinLawmakers point fingers at Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi's death Durbin calls for expulsion of Saudi ambassador in response to Khashoggi's death Durbin to Trump: ‘We’re the mob? Give me a break’ 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.