Durbin: Trump repeatedly said ‘shithole’ to describe foreign countries
*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 the word “shithole” to describe foreign countries “not once, but several times” during a discussion with a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House on Thursday, a Democratic senator who attended the meeting told reporters on Friday.
“In the course of his comments, [he] said things which were hate-filled, vile, and racist,” Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said.
“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 that he denied using those words. It is not true. He said those hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly.”
According to numerous media reports, Trump had questioned in the meeting 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 first outlet to break the news. Trump then reportedly suggested the US instead accept immigrants from nations like Norway, whose prime minister he met with one day earlier.
Trump, in a series of early-morning tweets Friday, said that the language he used during the meeting was “tough,” but that the language reported by numerous media outlets was “not the language used.”
He added that he “never said anything derogatory about Haitians” except that it was 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!” he tweeted.
But according to Durbin, when the senators at the meeting raised a question about Haitian immigrants, Trump asked, “Haitians? Do we need more Haitians?”
“That’s when he used these vile and vulgar comments, calling the nations they come from ‘shitholes.’ The exact word used by the president. Not once, but repeatedly,” Durbin said. “That was the nature of this conversation.”
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 categories.
“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.’ He said ‘Oh, that’s a good line,'” Durbin said.
“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 as our future, they scoffed at this notion,” he said. “It was a heartbreaking moment.”