GOP Sen. Tim Scott says fellow South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who attended the bipartisan immigration meeting at the White House on Thursday, confirmed to him that President Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador and some African nations “shithole countries” as first reported by The Washington Post.
Scott said he found the president’s remark “incredibly disappointing.”
“We ought not to disparage any other nation, frankly,” Scott said. “Thinking about the success of America. It is the melting pot. It’s the ability to weave together multiple communities together for one nation.”
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.) told reporters on Friday that Sen. Graham challenged Trump on the comments.
“My colleague [Graham] spoke up and made a direct comment on what the president said,” Durbin said, according to MSNBC. “For him to confront the president as he did, literally sitting next to him, took extraordinary political courage and I respect him for it.”
Durbin called the president’s Thursday remarks “racist.”
“In the course of his comments, [Trump] said things that were hate-filled, vile and racist,” 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.”
Trump took to Twitter on Friday to accuse Democrats of making the story up.
“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!” Trump tweeted Friday.
Update: Sen. Graham released a statement on Friday that did not deny Trump’s “shithole” remark.
It reads, in part: “Following comments by the President, I said my piece directly to him yesterday. The President and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel.”
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 12, 2018