President Trump is denying reports, from NPR and other news outlets, that in a Thursday meeting at the White House, he disparaged African nations as "shithole countries" and questioned why the United States would admit immigrants from them and other nations, like Haiti.
While Trump and his critics debate the precise language he used about Haiti in a discussion of immigration, he has shown personal enmity for the island nation's people with his administration's decision to end Temporary Protected Status for the almost 60,000 Haitians who came to the United States as a result of the quake. "That was the nature of this conversation", Durbin said.
Amid widespread coverage of his reported remarks at a private meeting with lawmakers to discuss immigration on Thursday, Trump on Friday tweeted his language at the meeting "was tough, but this was not the language used". "What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made - a big setback for DACA!" he tweeted.
"He used those words, and he used them repeatedly", Durbin said.
"Haitians don't deserve such treatment", Altidor said.
Trump then told the senators, " 'Haitians - we don't need more Haitians, '" Durbin said.
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"President Trump said things that were hate-filled, vile, and racist", Durbin told television reporters. "People come here because they're trying to improve their lives, not make it worse", she said. "Made up by Dems", Trump wrote.
In an apparent response to the criticism, Mr Trump took to Twitter late on Thursday night. "Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!" "Haitians should not be seen as a bunch of immigrants who come to the United States to exploit U.S. resources". His comments sparked widespread condemnation yesterday both within the USA and worldwide.
El Salvador says it has sent a diplomatic protest note to the United States expressing the country's "resounding rejection" of Mr Trump's remarks.
Deputy secretary general Jesse Duarte of the African National Congress pointed out the USA itself has millions of people out of work or without health care.
"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" he asked in the Oval Office, reported the Washington Post.
Haitian Senator Yuri Latortue said the reported remarks were also galling because they came just before the USA marks the birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr on Monday. And it prompted senators who were present at the meeting to answer questions Friday about their recollections of the startling remarks.