Lewis also disagreed with King's daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, who said that her father would have met with the president. Members of Congress from both parties are trying to strike a deal that Trump would support to extend that protection. "In terms of that meeting, I'm focussed on one thing - not that meeting - but on making sure that those who are being protected by DACA. have a future in America".
A confidant of Trump's told The Associated Press that the president spent Thursday evening calling friends and outside advisers to judge their reaction to his remarks.
President Donald Trump says he wants immigrants to come to the USA from "everywhere", despite having said behind closed doors that he'd prefer more immigrants from countries like Norway and not Africa.
While Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, underscored his account, Republican Senator David Perdue, who was also at the meeting, on Monday said Trump did not use the word "shithole". Trump wasn't apologetic and denied he was racist, instead blaming the media for distorting his meaning, said the confidant, who wasn't authorized to disclose a private conversation and spoke on condition of anonymity. Purdue said Durbin had committed a "gross misrepresentation" of the president's words, and Cotton argued on CBS's Face the Nation that Durbin "has a history of misrepresenting what happens in White House meetings". Since then, there's been extensive back-and-forth from the White House and other meeting attendees about what, exactly, the president said, which remains in dispute.
"While this is the first #MLKDay with an unrepentant & unreconstructed racist in the White House, we are neither intimidated by insult nor tweet - we are prayerful, not fearful", he said. Under one-quarter of respondents said the same about "China, India and other parts of Asia", or about African nations, with even fewer respondents saying the USA admits too many immigrants from Europe or from "predominantly Christian countries".
Trump and fellow Republicans have disputed public accounts of the discussion.
By a roughly 2-to-1 margin, 53 percent to 26 percent, Americans said it was racist to call African countries and Haiti "shithole countries".
LeVell said he is praying for those Democrats boycotting the presidential address, adding that Lewis should "take care of [his] district".
Trump himself marked the day with a videotaped speech posted on Twitter that alluded to King's celebrated "I Have a Dream" speech.
"He said, 'Put me down for wanting more Europeans to come to this country".
Durbin said the neither word is acceptable from the president.
"Did you see what various senators in the room said about my comments? Why don't we get more people from Norway?'" Durbin said.
Word of Trump's comments threatened to upend delicate negotiations over resolving the status of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought to the US illegally as children. "We are ready, willing and able to make a deal, but they don't want to". Trump announced previous year that he will end the Obama-era DACA program unless lawmakers come up with a solution by March.