After reports came out that Trump made disparaging remarks about Haiti, El Salvador and certain African countries during a bipartisan meeting on immigration at the White House on Thursday, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to deny them.
Relying on sources present during the meeting, several media outlets reported that Trump had asked why lawmakers wanted to include immigrants from “shithole countries” like Haiti and El Salvador in an immigration deal. He reportedly honed in on immigrants from Haiti.
“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump asked. “Take them out.”
A White House spokesman did not deny that Trump made those remarks.
Trump took to Twitter to say that he never made any of those comments and that he should record the meetings in the future.
“Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country,” Trump said. “Never said ‘take them out.’ Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!”
Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said “take them out.” Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
But Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois backed up the reports of Trump’s comments on Friday morning, saying he’s “not read one of them that’s inaccurate.”
“To no surprise, the president started tweeting this morning, denying that he used those words. It is not true. He said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly,” Durbin said.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 12, 2018
“In the course of his comments, [Trump] said things that were hate-filled, vile and racist,” Durbin said. “I cannot believe in this history of the White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday.”
According to the Washington Post, Republican Senators present during the meeting — including Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton and Bob Goodlatte — were also surprised by Trump’s comments.
Durbin has said that Graham spoke up in response to Trump’s racially charged comments.
Durbin says that @LindseyGrahamSC confronted Trump on his remarks: "I want to add this for the record, my colleague Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of S.C. spoke up and made a direct comment on what the president said. I was very proud of him. It took courage for what he did."
— Rebecca Shabad (@RebeccaShabad) January 12, 2018