President Donald Trump celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day at one of his golf clubs in Florida and used his time to tweet vulgar comments about Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).
Senator Dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting. Deals can’t get made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our Military.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 15, 2018
Past presidents, Democrats and Republicans, have spent the MLK holiday somehow honoring King’s memory or giving back to the community. Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all participated in volunteer work while they were in office on the holiday.
Trump, meanwhile, has made at least 91 visits to golf clubs since his inauguration last January. He did not appear to do anything related to civil rights, King’s legacy or charity at all on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In fact, he did not appear to acknowledge the holiday in any way until he retweeted a video from the White House’s Twitter account of his weekly address, in which he referenced “a glorious future, where every American from every walk of life can live free from fear, liberated from hatred and uplifted by boundless love for their fellow citizens.”
In the not so glorious recent past, however, Trump last week called Haiti and African nations “shithole countries.” He instead suggested that America accept immigrants from countries such as Norway, which is predominantly white and ranked No. 6 on Fortune’s list of the 15 richest countries in the world per capita (the U.S. ranked No. 12).
The president has since denied making the remarks, which took place at a meeting about immigration and the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Trump has called for the program to end and on Sunday said it is “probably dead” despite a judge’s earlier ruling to keep the program in place at least for the time being. And the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said on its website Saturday that those protected under DACA may still apply for renewals.
Durbin, who was present at the meeting, has stood by his initial account of what Trump said.
“I know what happened. I stand behind every word that I said,” he told reporters in Chicago. “In terms of that meeting, I’m focused on one thing — not that meeting — but on making sure that those who are being protected by DACA … have a future in America. I’m focused on that full time.”
A Washington Post reporter first reported on Twitter that there was “debate internally” at the White House over whether Trump said “shithole” or “shithouse.” Durbin questioned how this was relevant.
“I stick with my original interpretation. I am stunned that this is their defense,” he said.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), who attended the meeting as well, also said Trump made the disparaging remarks.
Republican Sens. David Perdue (Ga.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) at first said they did not remember whether or not Trump said “shithole” then claimed he did not say it.
It is unknown if the president discussed his $130,000 payment to a porn star in October 2016 this weekend.