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Trump commemorates MLK Day after "sh*thole" comments

CBS News logo CBS News 12/01/2018

 (Video provided by Reuters)

President Trump signed a Martin Luther King Jr. Day proclamation at the White House Friday, amid furious fallout from comments he made Thursday about "sh*thole countries."

The president praised Martin Luther King Jr. for standing up for the rights of African-Americans, and emphasized the importance of equality.

"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," Mr. Trump said. 

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a proclamation to honoring Martin Luther King Jr. in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2018. © JOSHUA ROBERTS / REUTERS U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a proclamation to honoring Martin Luther King Jr. in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington The comments stood in jarring contrast to the president's previous remarks made to members of Congress during an immigration meeting Thursday,

when he asked why the U.S. accepts people from "sh*thole countries." Virtually all other focus in Washington has been set aside, amid the fallout from those remarks. 

"Why are we having all these people from sh*thole countries come here?" the president said in the Thursday afternoon Oval Office meeting with a handful of members of the House and Senate.

"We should bring in more people from places like Norway," he added. Norway's prime minister visited the White House Wednesday.

The Trump administration recently decided to soon end Temporary Protected Status for citizens of countries like Haiti and El Salvador, who came to the U.S. to escape natural disasters.

Ironically, Friday marks the eighth anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, in addition to MLK Jr. Day. 

Mr. Trump denied the comments on Twitter Friday morning, although his staff did not deny the comments when they were first reported. Republicans present are also not denying the remarks. 

At the MLK Day event, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson also spoke of the importance of equality.

(Related Slideshow provided by Business Insider)

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Immigrants from 10 countries currently receive temporary protected status (TPS), which allows them to live and work legally in the US.The Trump administration has recently announced plans to terminate TPS for 4 of those countries.Here's when they are expected to end. During a bipartisan meeting on immigration Thursday, President Donald Trump criticized protections the US gives to immigrants from various underdeveloped countries, including Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries. "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump said, according to two people The Washington Post reported were briefed on the meeting.  The president's comments come days after the Trump administration announced that it would end temporary protection status (TPS) granted to nearly 262,000 Salvadorans, forcing them to leave the US or face deportation unless they're able to get a visa or permit to allow them to continue living in the country legally. The program's termination was delayed by 18 months to give those affected sufficient time to arrange plans. Since President George H.W. Bush signed the Immigration Act of 1990 into law, the US government has allowed immigrants from certain countries affected by armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary conditions to reside and work legally in the US until it is safe for them to return home. In recent months, the Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will end TPS for four countries, including El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan, at various upcoming dates. Immigrants from six other countries currently receive TPS, but it is unclear whether the Trump administration plans to end their protections. Here's when each group's protected status will end: The Trump administration has ended protections for immigrants from 4 countries — here’s when they will have to leave the US

"If we look upon our countrymen as brothers... we will truly create one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all," Carson said. 

The president ignored all shouted questions from reporters, including: "Mr. President, are you a racist?"

The MLK Day signing was already scheduled for Friday, along with the president's first annual physical at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center,

but the White House decided not to hold the daily press briefing before Mr. Trump takes off for Palm Beach, Florida, Friday night.

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