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Trump Signs Proclamation Honoring Martin Luther King

President Donald Trump shakes hands during an event to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 12, 2018, in Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation honoring slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, whose birthday, January 15, is a federal holiday.

Surrounded by Cabinet members and other dignitaries in the White House, the president spoke of the life of King, his dedication to civil rights for African-Americans and how he preached his entire life about love among all people.

"Today we mourn his loss, we celebrate his legacy, and we pledge to fight for his dream of equality, freedom, justice and peace," Trump said. He encouraged Americans to observe the holiday "with acts of civic work and community service in honor of Dr. King's extraordinary life."

As he signed the proclamation and shook hands with dignitaries, the president ignored reporters' questions regarding comments he made during a White House meeting on immigration Thursday. The president used vulgar language to describe Haiti and African nations.

Some reporters indicated the irony of the president honoring King, who fought for equality and justice for African-Americans, one day after he disparaged African nations.

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is celebrated every third Monday in January; this year, it coincides with his actual birthday, January 15. The holiday designation was signed into law in 1983 by then-President Ronald Reagan.

The holiday honors King for his work to fight segregation and other racial injustice through peaceful marches and protests. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his work. He was assassinated in 1968.