Donald Trump denied on Friday that he used the phrase shithole countries to describe Central American and African nations during talks with US lawmakers the day before. But one of the senators present contradicted Trump and called the remarks he had heard “hate-filled, vile and racist”.
Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat who was in the meeting, contradicted him to local Chicago press on Friday morning. He said Trump “in the course of his comments said things which were hate-filled, vile and racist”.
Durbin said: “He said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly.”
A few hours later, at an event to honor Martin Luther King Jr, Trump ignored questions from reporters, including one who asked: “Mr President, are you a racist?”
On Thursday, Trump reportedly grew angry during a meeting about protections for immigrants from several countries, and asked: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
“Why do we need more Haitians?” he reportedly added. “Take them out.” He also reportedly suggested the US bring in more people from Norway.
Early on Friday, he denied using the derogatory language. “The language used by me at the Daca meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” he tweeted, using an acronym for a program to protect young undocumented immigrants. “What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for Daca!”
Trump later added: “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!”
But Durbin said: “I cannot believe that in the history of the White House and the Oval Office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday.