Durbin on Trump 'shithole countries' comment: 'He said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly'

  • Despite his denials, President Donald Trump used the word "shithole" to describe foreign countries repeatedly during a meeting on Thursday, one senator said.
  • Sen. Dick Durbin, who attended the immigration meeting, 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.

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Trump holds bipartisan meeting on immigration reform
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), flanked by Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), rubs his eyes and listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US Senator Dianne Feinstein (C), D-California, speaks to US President Donald Trump during a meeting with bipartisan members of the Senate on immigration at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by U.S. Representative Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Representative Martha McSally (R-AZ), flanked by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks as President Donald Trump holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD), holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 09: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) speaks during a meeting about immigration with U.S. President Donald Trump and Republican and Democrat members of Congress in the Cabinet Room at the White House January 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. In addition to seeking bipartisan solutions to immigration reform, Trump advocated for the reintroduction of earmarks as a way to break the legislative stalemate in Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump, center, listens while U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland, right, speaks during a meeting with bipartisan members of Congress on immigration in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. Trump�indicated he's willing to split contentious immigration proposals into two stages, providing protections for young immigrants known as dreamers and increasing border security first, leaving tougher negotiations on comprehensive legislation for later. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 09: White House Chief of Staff John Kelly listens as President Donald Trump conducts a meeting on immigration in the Cabinet Room at the White House January 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. In addition to seeking bipartisan solutions to immigration reform, Trump advocated for the reintroduction of earmarks as a way to break the legislative stalemate in Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 09: Republican and Democrat members of Congress, including Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and others join President Donald Trump for a meeting on immigration in the Cabinet Room at the White House January 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. In addition to seeking bipartisan solutions to immigration reform, Trump advocated for the reintroduction of earmarks as a way to break the legislative stalemate in Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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"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."

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SEE ALSO: Trump: 'Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?'

 

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