During a meeting with congressional leaders on Thursday, Trump questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and Africa rather than places like Norway.
Trump had been discussing a potential deal with a team of senators that would have restored protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and some African countries, the Washington Post and others reported Thursday night.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump asked senators.
“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump reportedly said. “Take them out.”
Trump trashes protections for immigrants; calls Haiti, El Salvador, African Nations “shithole countries”
On Friday, Trump seemingly denied using the widely reported offensive language.
“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!” the president tweeted.
In a statement late Thursday, the White House did not dispute the vulgar language reportedly used by Trump during the meeting.
“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said in a statement. “The president will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway.”
The president later added that he 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!” Trump tweeted.
On Friday, Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin, who was in the meeting with Trump, told reporters the president did say “these hate-filled things” and repeatedly called African nations “shitholes.”
“The exact word used by the president, not just once but repeatedly,” the senator said.
–with a file from Rebecca Joseph