Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who attended the infamous White House meeting where President Trump called African nations “shithole countries,” confirmed on the record that the president made the remark despite his denial.
“In the course of his comments, [Trump] said things that were hate-filled, vile and racist,” Durbin told reporters on Friday. “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.”
“You’ve seen the comments in the press,” Durbin said. “I’ve not seen 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 hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly.”
During an Oval Office meeting on Thursday, Trump questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and “shithole countries” in Africa as he rejected a bipartisan immigration deal.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump reportedly said.
Trump then suggested the U.S. should bring in more immigrants from countries like Norway.
“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” Trump insisted in a series of Friday morning tweets. “What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA.”
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) were also present in the meeting.
Durbin praised Graham for his “political courage,” telling reporters that Graham “spoke up” when Trump made the remark.
“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.”
Sen. Durbin: "My colleague, [Sen. Graham], spoke up and made a direct comment on what the president said … for him to confront the president as he did, literally sitting next to him, took extraordinary political courage and I respect him for it."
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 12, 2018
In a statement Thursday, the White House did not explicitly deny Trump made the “shithole” remark.
—> Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin — who was in the room — confirms Trump's comments.
"In the course of his comments, [he] said things that were hateful, vile and racist." pic.twitter.com/bkwKHUboEt
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) January 12, 2018