CARBONDALE — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois confirmed Friday that President Donald Trump made vulgar comments when questioning why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and “s---hole countries” in Africa rather than places like Norway.
The Associated Press reported that the White House did not deny Trump's remark, but issued a statement saying Trump supports immigration policies that welcome "those who can contribute to our society."
Trump's comments came as two senators presented details of a bipartisan compromise that would extend protections against deportation for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants — and also strengthen border protections, as Trump has insisted.
Trump specifically questioned why the U.S. would want to admit more people from Haiti. As for Africa, he asked why more people from "s---hole countries" should be allowed into the U.S., sources said to The AP.
The president suggested that instead, the U.S. should allow more entrants from countries like Norway.
“As Sen. Graham made his presentation, the president interrupted him several times with questions. In the course of his comments, President Trump said things which were hate-filled, vile and racist,” Durbin said Friday in a statement his office provided to the newspaper. “I cannot believe that in the history of White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak (Thursday)."
“You’ve seen the comments in the press. I have not read one of them that is inaccurate," Durbin said during a Friday news conference. "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.”
The president did take to Twitter at 7:28 a.m. Friday, denying using the reported 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 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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
Later, at 8:48 a.m., the president doubled down on his original statement.
“Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country,” he tweeted. “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
Georgia Sen. David Perdue and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, both Republicans, issued a joint statement Friday.
"We do not recall the president saying these comments specifically," they said. "But what he did call out was the imbalance in our current immigration system, which does not protect American workers."
— Associated Press contributed to this report.