U.S. President Donald Trump paid a brief visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington on the holiday honoring the civil rights leader.
Trump was joined by Vice President Mike Pence on a frigid and windy day. The two laid a wreath at the foot of the memorial, then held a brief moment of silence.
Trump told reporters as he departed that it was a “great day” and a “beautiful day,” but did not respond to questions about the partial government shutdown, now in its 31st day.
The visit lasted less than two minutes.
Trump had been criticized earlier in the day by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who said it was “an insult to the American people” that the White House was not commemorating the holiday with an event.
At the National Action Network’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration in Harlem, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries said, “These are challenging times in the United States of America. We have a hater in the White House: the birther in chief, the grand wizard of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”
Jeffries' remark was referencing the leader of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan. “One of the things that we’ve learned is that while Jim Crow might be dead, he’s still got some nieces and nephews who are alive and well,” Jeffries added.
The president’s memorial visit had not been listed on his public schedule and reporters traveling with him were not informed of Trump’s destination until they arrived.
Trump tweeted earlier: “Today we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 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.”
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