US President, Donald Trump has signed a proclamation officially making January 15th- Martin Luther King Junior Day - a federal holiday.
Whilst praising the civil rights leader, he made no comment about the controversial statement he was reported to have made yesterday.
Earlier, he denied that he told lawmakers that the U.S. should block immigrants from "shithole" countries, but admitted he used "tough" language in that meeting:
Trump wasn't more specific, but his tweet was a clear reference to reports that he told senators in a meeting to legislate a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that he didn't want immigrants from "shithole" countries like El Salvador, Haiti and some African nations.
Instead suggesting the US should bring more immigrants from Norway, whose prime minister he had met on Wednesday.
His comments came as the United Nations labelled the comments “racist” and xenophobic.
“There is no other word one can use but racist,” the UN human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville, told a Geneva news briefing.
“You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome.”
Trumps comments also drew sharp criticism from pundits and US politicians of both parties who called the remarks racist, among other things.
Republican Senator Hatch, called for a "detailed explanation" and said immigrants, "regardless of their country of origin," make America "special."
His Republican colleague Mia Love, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, called Trump's words "divisive" and "elitist" and demanded he apologised.
Democrats were also quick to denouce the comments. Senator Richard Blumenthal called the words "blatant racism" and "a brazen betrayal of American values."
Without addressing the issue directly, former FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired in May, quoted the inscription on the Statue of Liberty. He wrote: "This country’s greatness and true genius lies in its diversity."
David Miliband, the president of the International Rescue Committee, said Trump’s comments were leading a “race to the bottom on refugees”
The former Haitian president Laurent Lamothe also expressed his dismay, saying the US president’s remark “shows a lack of respect and ignorance”.
The Haitian ambassador to the US, Paul Altidor, said Trump’s views were “based on stereotypes”.
Mexico’s former president, Vicente Fox, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump, said “America’s greatness was built on diversity”.
Kenyan activist and politician Boniface Mwangi said "how America elected a narcissist, racist, white supremacist to be their president defies logic."
"Africa sends love and light to America," he added.