Rep. John LewisJohn LewisJohn Lewis says he may not attend Mississippi Civil Rights Museum opening if Trump is there The nearly 60 Dems who voted for impeachment Live coverage: Day three of the Ways and Means GOP tax bill markup MORE (D-Ga.) slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia 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.
“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 FeinsteinGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Blumenthal: ‘Credible case’ of obstruction of justice can be made against Trump MORE (Calif.) accused Trump of “promoting a homogenous, white society” with the remarks.
Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats turn on Al Franken Minnesota’s largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign Democratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday 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.