WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on January 21, 2019, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Pool/Sipa USA).
US President Donald Trump has paid a brief visit to the Martin Luther King Jr memorial in Washington on the holiday honouring 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 on the National Mall in Washington, then held a brief moment of silence on Monday.
In a tweet the president called the visit a "great honor".
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 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."
The third Monday in January is a national holiday to mark King's life and achievements.
Trump had been criticised earlier in the day by the Reverend Al Sharpton, who said it was "an insult to the American people" that the White House was not commemorating the holiday with an event.
The previous three presidents typically participated in service projects during the holiday, according to CNN.
The president's memorial visit had not been listed on his public schedule and reporters travelling with him were not informed of Trump's destination until they arrived.
The president courted controversy around Martin Luther King Jr Day last year when he attacked Democratic congressman John Lewis, a civil rights leader who worked with King.
© AP 2019