Amid furor over racist comments he made on Thursday, President Trump decided to forge ahead on Friday with an event to honor Martin Luther King Jr.
After signing a proclamation honoring King — the federal holiday honoring him is next Monday — Trump shook hands with attendees and exited the room. But he couldn’t get out before April Ryan, Washington bureau chief for the American Urban Radio Networks, repeatedly asked him why he called African countries “shitholes” during a meeting with lawmakers on Thursday.
“Mr. President, will you give an apology for the statement yesterday?” she asked. “Mr. President, are you a racist? Mr. President, will you respond to these serious questions about your statement, sir?
Trump ignored her.
Even though White House staff has acknowledged that Trump did in fact call African countries “shitholes,” Trump himself belatedly denied he said any such thing on Twitter on Friday morning shortly after his favorite show, Fox & Friends, urged him to do so.
It used to be more controversial to call the president racist. Last fall, the Trump administration feuded with ESPN anchor Jamele Hill after she described Trump as a “white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists” — with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at one point calling for her job.
Trump’s latest bigoted remarks seems to be changing that. In the hours after news of Trump’s “shithole” remark broke yesterday, a number of prominent journalists pulled no punches and described Trump’s comment for what it is — racist.