Donald Trump.
Associated Press/Evan

  • Though he has denied doing so, President Donald Trump
    at a meeting on immigration on Thursday repeatedly used
    “shithole” to describe Haiti and African countries, said one
    senator who was there.
  • Sen. Dick Durbin called Trump’s comments “hate-filled,
    vile, and racist.”
  • Trump tweeted Friday that his reported remarks were
    “not the language used.”

President Donald Trump used “shithole” to describe Haiti and
African countries “not just once, but repeatedly” during a
discussion on immigration with a bipartisan group of lawmakers at
the White House on Thursday, a Democratic senator who was there
told reporters on Friday.

“In the course of his comments, [Trump] said things which were
hate-filled, vile, and racist,” Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois

He added: “You’ve seen the comments in the press — I have not
read one of them that’s inaccurate. To no surprise, the president
started tweeting this morning denying that he using those words.
It is not true. He said these hate-filled things, and he said
them repeatedly.”

Numerous media reports have said Trump questioned in the
why the US should accept immigrants from “shithole
countries,” referring to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come
here?” Trump said, according to The Washington Post, the outlet
that broke the news.

Trump then reportedly suggested the US instead accept immigrants
from nations like Norway, whose prime minister he met with one
day earlier.

The lawmakers had been discussing the White House’s recently
ending temporary protection from deportation for certain
immigrants living in the US.

The White House announced earlier this week that it would
end Temporary Protected Status for
200,000 Salvadorans
who were allowed to live and work in the
US legally after two severe earthquakes hit their home country in
2001. The Trump administration has also ended TPS for 45,000
Haitians and 2,500 Nicaraguans.

In a series of tweets early on
, Trump said he used “tough” language during the
meeting but suggested the content of the news reports was “not
the language used.”

Citing people familiar with the meeting, The Post reported that
Trump also asked why the US needed more Haitians, saying, “Take
them out.”

Trump said on Friday that he “never said anything derogatory
about Haitians” except that Haiti was a “very poor and troubled

“Never said ‘take them out,'” he
. “Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship
with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings —
unfortunately, no trust”

Durbin said that when the lawmakers at the meeting raised a
question about Haitian immigrants, Trump said: “Haitians? Do we
need more Haitians?”

Durbin said the lawmakers went on to discuss US immigration from
African nations.

“That’s when he used these vile and vulgar comments, calling the
nations they come from ‘shitholes,'” Durbin said. “The exact word
used by the president not just once, but repeatedly. That was the
nature of this conversation.”

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, who did not attend the meeting but
said he was briefed on it by people who were there, also
expressed disgust at Trump’s remarks.

“The words used by the President, as related to me directly
following the meeting by those in attendance, were not ‘tough,’
they were abhorrent and repulsive,” Flake

Durbin also said he confronted Trump and some of the Republicans
at the meeting about their use of the term
chain migration
to refer to family-based immigration

“I said to the president: ‘Do you realize how painful that term
is to so many people? African-Americans believe that they
migrated to America in chains, and when you speak about chain
migration, it hurts them personally,'” Durbin said. “He said,
‘Oh, that’s a good line.’

“And then when I talked to him about the impact this has on
family unification, in a nation that values families with the
flag as the most important symbols of our future, they scoffed at
this notion,” he said. “It was a heartbreaking moment.”

Watch Durbin’s comments:

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