April D. Ryan asked President Trump a question on the minds of many late this week: "Mr. President, are you a racist?"
"Today we celebrate Dr. King for standing up for the self-evident truth Americans hold so dear, that no matter what the color of our skin or the place of our birth, we are all created equal by God," said Trump at the event.
The question, and others like it, were spawned by reports that the president referred this week to El Salvador, Haiti and several African nations as "sh*thole countries."
The president has said he never said that word; however, several officials who were in a meeting with him have said that he did in fact utter that phrase.
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. Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
According to the Hill Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) told the press, "He said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly.”
Durbin also said that several of his Republican colleagues at the meeting were not pleased with the president's words. Durbin said that one in particular, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) confronted the president after he made the comments.
"My colleague [Senator Graham] spoke up and made a direct comment on what the president said,” Durbin said. “For him to confront the president as he did, literally sitting next to him, took extraordinary political courage and I respect him for it."
The backlash to news of the comments have been swift, with Ryan's CNN colleague Don Lemon claiming that President Trump is a racist live on television.
After Trump signed the proclamation, several journalists could be heard asking him questions, including whether he did, in fact, make the "sh*thole" remarks. President Trump did not answer Ryan's question, or any of the others.
You can hear Ryan's question, and the others, below: