Transcript for Trump ignores shouted questions from reporters while signing MLK Day proclamation
Hi Amy be seen aren't what signs thanks so much for joining us you were just watching president trump citing a proclamation for Martin Luther King Jr. day he's calling hit a great American hero in quoting front. Dr. Martin Luther King as well let using some of his quote what love for each other and his neighbors. It insane that Martin Luther King stood up to ensure that Pollock are all are respected for being created equal by god that this all kinds. Amid a firestorm over some controversial comments that he made in the Oval Office yesterday regarding immigrants that a president using an expletive to describe immigrants. From Africa and other countries were not using that exact expletive here ABC news but the president would ask questions about that as he was leading the rent them to bring in our senior congressional correspondent. Mary Bruce thinks her so much Mary for joining us. We sob that the president was asked whether he would apologize. Aren't yet any regrets. About those comments that he made in the Oval Office but it seemed he completely ignore those questions. Yeah are let let's about the optics here for a minute that would awkward to save at least the president there signing that proclamation for or Martin Luther King Jr. day recognizing. Not recognizing the elephant in the room which of course are these incredibly debase it. Boulder prep Spain. Offensive. Comments that the president made yesterday which have been almost universally condemned for being racist. And at the end the president sort of working the room hugging everyone there while being pelted with questions being asked is it arias comments racist. Will he apologize and there's no we didn't hear those questions I mean the president just a few feet away from him in that room the president. Tried to take northern and continue along with his business and then leave and look what we have seen so far from the reaction from the White House. I initially. There reaction did not include a denial that the president made these comments that the president this morning it's you'd want to do it took to Twitter to respond. And he did say there and I quote the language used by me at the dock a meeting with top. But this was not the language used. The president pushing back there but of course weenie that is not what our source of our multiple sources tell us they say that the president did in fact. Used this language. When referring to immigrants coming from African African countries describing. Why are questioning why. Immigrants from those countries would be allowed to come to the US we also have heard today from from senator Dick Durban the first. Count we've had from some on the record accountants and who is actually in that room. And he says there's no question that the president said that what he describes. At heat build things. And we actually have that sound from senator Durbin speaking to reporters earlier today in Chicago let go ahead and take a listen. Haitians. More Haitians. You surface describe. Admiration from Africa. This bipartisan major. That's when news 50. Calling the nation's return. Here's what president. Just once but repeatedly. And you've had others. The members on both sides of the aisle Democrats and Republicans coming out and say that the president needs to apologize for these comments out one of those. The lawmakers it's representative Neil Lott a Republican of Utah she's actually the first Haitian American just serving congress she released a statement test calling it the president's comments on kinda did this is a lead this and fly in the face our nation's values. And so that the president must apologize Mary what people on the health sane about this first. Cougar you were talking to yesterday after that meeting at that as the president's doubling down today as. Well well according to Dick Durbin within the room he says look Republicans were embarrassed by the president's comments are our sources. Tell us that everyone in the room was shocked by the by the president's remarks and the outrage from Capitol Hill what incredibly at least wit on both sides of the got you. You quoted bear republic it. Yet meal loved pretty harsh comment from a Republican about the president and that's the kind of level of concern that you're seeing. For those not just in the room but everyone on Capitol Hill you have Democrats saying and I look at this acts of blatant racism. Let others saying it is unforgivable demeaning to the office of the president that written down hurting. Sentiment I think you're hearing from both sides of the aisle that the president's comments. Do not reflect. Oh what most on Capitol Hill most lawmakers feel this country release stands for and when you take it step back and think about that that is a remarkable. Thing to be happening. And we're sure the White House going to continue to face questions about how the president is going to react well this. Going forward I want to bring in our colleague Alex Mallon who is a reporter over at the White House he's. He's on the north want Alex what in the mood in the reaction within the White House to that these reports about what the president sad. And then also the fact that he isn't necessarily denying and neither is the White House. Well our sources have told our team basically last throughout throughout last night after the president made his comments in. The White House issued that statement that didn't really clarify it. Whether that visit or confirm whether you said edited it also didn't deny whether you said it. But the sources basically told our team that they that they didn't see this is as big an issue was it was being made up of the media date they pretty much side as. As every other what they call a media blow up a line. On Sunday that the base for trump supporters really doesn't see is that big of an issue. So they are seeing this says you know it'll be swept under the rug and really the main deal here. Is that Democrats did not bring to the president yesterday a deal on daka that the president would accept they see that as the big message coming from that meeting. And they're hoping to capitalize on the fact that the president was is rejecting a deal from Democrats that does not given them give them enough money. To pay for that border wall on the US Mexico border. And what what this mean all centered around was trying to come up. Win a deal on immigration to try to find protections for the so called dreamers we know that Republicans and Democrats are outcome. Opposite adds how they're going to deal with this and they're also facing a type -- timeline. With Democrats wanting to do something by January 19 if it's going to complicate that effort. Will the White House has basically not seeing the January 19 deadline. As a real deadline they they look at march and they see that that the docket deal that that. Can be done the Democrats are calling for they they don't see the same kind of urgency that Democrats are kind of pushing for. But you saw this letter from DHS former UHS secretaries that basically said. That in order to process doctor recipients whose whose waivers will basically run out they need that they need to. Create a deal by January 19. But in the White House and I think that they are seeing that they want a win on the wall the president has has said repeatedly after that meeting this week. That they are hoping to get a win on the wall and essentially that are there's not going to be a docket deal unless he can he can give that to his base. And Mary you've been talking with lawmakers up on the hill up very closely about immigration as well as this meeting. What do you think this meeting and in the explosive comments that were made there what to do that no negotiations relate to dock and going forward. It really blows the ball up Bartlett I mean remember lawmakers thought senators the bi partisan group of senators have been negotiating. A deal to protect dreamers and border security way to the White House yesterday Whitman. An agreement in principle something that they thought would become an final deal and then of course they had this explosive conversation with the president and it all seem to have. Fallen apart in many ways and as Alex points outlook the president sent some mixed messages here on one hand he's that he would sign whatever lawmakers could agree to on this issue. On the other hand he's been out there saying that any deal to protect dreamers have to include funding for his wall. But but it what became clearer talking to stores after this meeting that the real hang up your whether the president wall. But it was his concerns and it shocking comments. About. Renewing some protections and restoring thousands some of these status is for immigrants and some of these countries. That was really let it seemed to to hold it stop now they've been negotiating around principles that the that the White House seemed to be on board went. Republicans and Democrats together. Have an agreement in principle a question is what where they go now what did they do going forward. Dick Durbin said today. That it was going that they wanted to present a big deal to the senate next week that they wanted to move forward with this deal hopefully doping and it they get enough. Momentum on the hill that that they can convince the president to get on board with this. But the timing is very tricky but the White House is sending very mixed messages and end at you know throwing. A wrench in negotiations while congress under the huge time crunched and let's unpack that a little bit here there are they're multiple time crunch is happening one on top of the another. About this January 19 deadline which is when congress have to pass a spending bill buy if they don't you will see a government shutdown at the end of next week. Now Democrats have long said that they want to tie. Action on dock at protections for dreamers to this must pass spending that using that leverage essentially to get something down on the dreamers issue. That's been a no go for Republicans. But everyone on the hill yesterday was optimistic they would at least he'll have some kind of of agreement. In place by that January 19 deadline it that that they could prevent that shut down. The actual docket deadline is not until early march Alex adding that they are hoping that. They could essentially. Get something done on docket line with the spending bill and avoid these that this 12 punch at deadlines that they're facing and now the big question is who knows. Who knows where this goes from here who don't watch the president will be willing to except. But I I think it's safe to say that the Democrats are probably not an eight compromising mood even though yesterday we are seeing what we don't often which is an actual. Bipartisan compromise on an issue immigration no less and. I know that you would end it counseled but be keeping tabs on that's in the coming weeks as we try to figure out whether there will be any type of deal. That emerges thank you Marion thank you Alex so much for joining us and thank you for watching here on ABC news digital states stand up for more at noon at abcnews.com. And policies and thinks.
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