Isaac Newton Farris Jr., Martin Luther King Jr.’s nephew, told CNN on Friday that while he does not believe President Donald Trump is a “racist in the traditional sense,” he does think the President is “racially ignorant and racially uninformed.”
The comments come a day after Trump, in an Oval Office meeting about immigration, referred to a series of nations as “shithole countries” and questioned why the United States was not welcoming more people from Norway as opposed to Haiti, El Salvador and African countries.
Farris Jr. participated in a White House event honoring his uncle on Friday and told CNN that Trump addressed the issue while in the Oval Office with Vice President Mike Pence and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson before the ceremony.
“I don’t think the Present Trump is a racist in the traditional sense as we know in this country,” Farris Jr. said. “I think President Trump is racially ignorant and racially uninformed. But I don’t think he is a racist in the traditional sense.”
Farris said that the comments were “another example of him (Trump) speaking without knowing the facts.”
He later added, “I thought he misspoke, and, as I said, I think President Trump is not a racist, but I do think he is racially uninformed.”
Trump, according to Farris Jr., addressed the controversy during their brief meeting in the Oval Office. He said that Trump and Carson, the lone African-American member of the Cabinet, were talking about the fallout from Thursday’s vulgar remarks when Trump turned to him and said, “I am not the person that the media is making me out to be.”
Trump did not publicly address the controversy during the ceremony and ignored repeated questions about it from reporters in the room.
When asked how his uncle would have responded to Trump’s comments on Thursday, Farris Jr. said that he would have urged Trump “not to refer to African countries like that.”