Sen. Durbin: Trump ‘Repeatedly’ Used Derogatory Term

By Melanie Arter | January 12, 2018 | 4:25 PM EST

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) (Photo courtesy of Senate website)

( - Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told reporters Friday that he heard President Donald Trump use the term “shitholes” to refer to places like Haiti and Africa, multiple times during a bipartisan meeting on immigration at the White House on Thursday.

“As Senator [Lindsey] Graham [R-S.C.] made his presentation, the president interrupted him several times with questions, and in the course of his comments, [Trump] said things which were hate-filled, vile and racist. He used those words,” Durbin said.

“I cannot believe in this history of the White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday,” the senator continued.

“You’ve seen the comments from press, and I’ve not read one of them that’s inaccurate. To no surprise, the president started tweeting this morning, denying that he used those words. It is not true. He said these ...things, and he said them repeatedly,” Durbin said, referring to the president’s tweet.

As reported, the president tweeted, “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!”

“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!” Trump tweeted.

“When a question was raised about Haitians for example -- we have a group that have temporary protected status in the United States because they were the victims of crisis and disasters and political upheaval. The largest group’s El Salvadorans. Second is Honduran, and third is Haitian,” Durbin said.

As reported, the Trump administration decided to end the temporary protected status of Salvadorans. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced Monday that the decision was made after evaluating the disaster-related conditions of El Salvador following the 2001 earthquakes, which led to the TPS designation.

“And when I mentioned that fact to him, he said, ‘Haitians? Do we need more Haitians?’ And then he went on and he started to describe the immigration of Africa that was being protected in this bipartisan measure,” Durbin said.

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

Meanwhile, two GOP senators who were at the meeting Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Purdue (R-Ga.) issued a joint statement, saying they did not recall the president’s remarks, but they did recall the president calling out “the imbalance in our current immigration system.”

"President Trump brought everyone to the table this week and listened to both sides. But regrettably, it seems that not everyone is committed to negotiating in good faith," the statement said.

"In regards to Senator Durbin’s accusation, we do not recall the President saying these comments specifically but what he did call out was the imbalance in our current immigration system, which does not protect American workers and our national interest," they said.

"We, along with the President, are committed to solving an issue many in Congress have failed to deliver on for decades," they added.


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