Transcript for President Trump defends immigration comments: 'I'm not a racist'
president trump. He spoke to reporters last night, trying to calm the firestorm set off by his vulgar comments about afri can and Haiti. Trump now denying those words, defending himself against charges of racism. Cecilia Vega is here with the story. Reporter: Good morning to you. After ignoring reporters' questions about whether he is a racist, on this martin Luther king holiday, president trump now has an answer. Overnight, forced to answer the one yes he cannot seem to escape. No, no, I'm not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. Reporter: At his golf club in Florida, the president denying he made the oval office slur. Did you see what various senators in the room said about my comments? They weren't made. Reporter: On this martin Luther king holiday, the fallout growing. Civil rights icon democratic congressman John Lewis not holding back. I think he is a racist. I don't think there's any way that you can square what the president said with the words of Morton Luther king Jr. Reporter: The president's allies in the room deny he use that vulgar word to describe African countries. I'm telling you he did not use that word, George. It's a gross misrepresentation. Reporter: Multiple sources also there tell ABC news he did. And the white house doesn't deny the president said he would rather see more immigrants from countries like Norway than Africa. Now hanging in the balance, a deal to save those so-called d.r.e.a.m.ers. Undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. As children. The deadline is Friday. President trump blames them for ploeg up the deal. Honestly, I don't think the Democrats want to make a deal. I think they talk about DACA. But they don't want to help the DACA people. Reporter: And this morning, a new fight over the president's relationship with North Korea's Kim Jong-un. The Wall Street journal quoted president trump as saying they have a good Rae lagsship. Two days after the interview was published, the white house fired back. Both sides releasing a recording. Probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un. Of North Korea. Reporter: The white house claims the president said, I'd have a great relationship. Not that he actually does. The president slamming the paper. Well, "The Wall Street journal," as you know, quoted totally wrong. Reporter: Also talking to report NERs mar-a-lago. He said he didn't know if there would be a government shutdown Friday. Saying there shouldn't be, because if there is, our military gets hurt very badly. It's true certain military programs would come to a halt if the government runs out of money. But guys, the military would not shut down. Great to have you in new York. Great to have you in studio. Awesome to see you anchoring "World news tonight wts this weekend. Don't go anywhere. Thank you. Let's bring in John alalon. Let's take a step back. Remarkable moment. An American president, on martin Luther king weekend, forced to defend himself against charges of racism. It's surreal. But not surprising. When presidents with in the business of denying something, it's not a strong look. Saying I'm not a racist, or I'm the least racest person you have ever seen. He's had to answer questions like this before. The late eepisode of course coming out of the oval office meeting on Thursday. Amazing what you're seeing right here. Initial reports, the white house did not deny that the president said these words. These two senators, Tom cotton, David perdu erks, didn't remember. David on my show yesterday said, he didn't say it. Amnesia is curable in senators looking to protect themselves and their president. The white house didn't deny it. Other senators heard it before the reports. Now for cotton and perdue to say that the president didn't say it definitively, they're looking out for their own political interests. It complicates the entire debate over DACA and immigration. Very, very unlikely to see a deal on that before Friday. And that's a tragedy. Before the president's vulgar comments were reported, it was looking like there was a deal in the senate. This is the way deals are supposed to be done. Both sides giving a little bit. Looking like you can help people in the process. And the president's comments derailing it. Another tumultuous week. John avlon, thank you.
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