A discussion on the US health care bill turned controversial after a commentator on CNN decided to compare the US president to one of the country's leading civil rights activists. In an attempt to defend the Potus' measures to repeal the Affordable Care Act, commentator and Donald Trump surrogate Jeffrey Lord described the president as the "Martin Luther King of health care".

Appearing on 13 April's episode of New Day with Alisyn Camerota Lord attempted to show common ground between the fight for civil rights and the US heath care debate.

"Think of President Trump as the Martin Luther King of health care," Lord said after mentioning that his comments could be expected to upset Sanders. "When I was a kid, President Kennedy didn't want to introduce the civil rights bill because he said it wasn't popular, he did not have the votes for it, et cetera.

"Doctor King kept putting people in the streets in harm's way to put pressure on so the bill can be introduced. It finally worked," he added.

Expectedly, Sanders challenged the comparison. "You do understand that Dr King was marching for civil rights because people that looked like me were being beaten. Dogs were being sicced on them. Basic human rights were being withheld from these people merely because of the colour of the skin," she said on the show. "Let's not equate Doctor Martin Luther King Junior, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize winner, to the vagina-grabbing president Donald Trump."

Sanders was not the only one to take offense to his statements. Twitter users also joined in, in calling out the former Ronald Reagan aide.

Later on Thursday, Lord was invited back on the news channel to explain his remarks to Anderson Cooper. "I wasn't comparing President Trump and Dr King," Lord insisted and added that the latter was a hero for him when he was a kid.

"What I was doing was comparing their strategy. Dr King quite specifically... was talking about creating a crisis," Lord explained while on Anderson Cooper 360.

In his latest bid to get Democrats to negotiate on the proposed health care bill, Trump has proposed arm-twisting health insurers by withholding federal subsidy payments to those providing coverage to lower-income Americans under Obamacare.

"Obamacare is dead next month if it doesn't get that money," he told the Wall Street Journal. "I haven't made my viewpoint clear yet. I don't want people to get hurt."