— -- One day after President Donald Trump's reported remark about immigrants from Haiti and other "s---hole countries" reignited talk of whether he harbors racist beliefs, the president signed a proclamation honoring civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.
Neither Trump nor other dignitaries who spoke at the ceremony officially proclaiming Jan. 15, 2018, as the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday addressed the controversy over the president's reported comments on Thursday.
Flanked by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson -- the only African-American member of Trump's cabinet -- and Martin Luther King's nephew, Isaac Newton Ferris Jr., Trump spoke about the late civil rights leader.
"Dr. King's faith and his love for humanity led him and so many other heroes to courageously stand up for civil rights of African-Americans," said Trump. "Through his bravery and sacrifice, Dr. King opened the eyes and lifted the conscience of our nation. He stirred in the hearts of our people to recognize the dignity written in every human soul."
"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," he added.
After the president spoke, Carson and Farris took turns at the podium and Trump signed the proclamation. He then exited the room, ignoring shouted questions from reporters about his controversial comments on Thursday and whether he is a racist.