Americans remembered civil rights hero Martin Luther King on his holiday Monday, a day after US President Donald Trump vehemently denied he is a racist amid an uproar over a reported slur.
The denial late Sunday came three days after Trump was quoted as calling African nations and Haiti “shithole countries,” setting off a storm of condemnation that threatened to derail a bipartisan compromise on immigration.
“I’m not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed,” Trump told reporters as he arrived at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida for dinner with Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
A man dressed as U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march starting at Times Square.
Trump also denied, once again, making the offensive remarks attributed to him — despite the insistence of at least one senator that the president used the words repeatedly during a White House meeting on immigration Thursday.
The furor showed little sign of abating Monday, placing America’s troubled history of racism center stage — and not for the first time in Trump’s year-old presidency — on a national holiday honoring King.
Trump himself marked the day with a videotaped speech posted on Twitter that alluded to King’s celebrated “I Have a Dream” speech.
“Dr. King’s dream is our dream. It is the American dream,” Trump said.
African American leaders, however, expressed deep concern about the direction of the nation.