Last Thursday, The Washington Post reported that, during a meeting on immigration policy reform at the White House, President Trump had called nations including Haiti, El Salvador, and some African countries “shithole countries.”
The president waited until the next morning to issue a half-hearted denial of the reported remarks, saying that he had used language that was “tough” but wasn’t exactly what was reported.
The reported immigration policy reform plan that the president refers to in his tweet and which reportedly prompted his comments was for the overall number of immigrants accepted to the U.S. to be slashed, with individuals from countries like Haiti, El Salvador, and some African nations given preference for the remaining spaces.
Now, during the latest round of Sunday shows, Republican U.S. Senators who attended last Thursday’s meeting in question have also denied that the president used the reported language.
Georgia Republican Senator David Perdue appeared on the Sunday edition of ABC’s This Week with comments to that effect, telling host George Stephanopoulos:
‘I’m telling you he did not use that word, … and I’m telling you it’s a gross misrepresentation… The gross misrepresentation was that language was used in there that was not used and also that the tone of that meeting was not contributory and not constructive.’
The reported language was backed up the day after initial reports by meeting attendee Illinois Democratic U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, who told reporters:
‘In the course of [Trump’s] comments, he said things that were hate-filled, vile, and racist… He said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly.’
Sen. Perdue was not alone among Republican Senators rushing to Trump’s defense during an appearance on a Sunday talk show this week. Arkansas U.S. Senator Tom Cotton did the same, questioning during an appearance on CBS’ Face The Nation whether or not Sen. Durbin should be believed in his backing up of Thursday’s press reports.
The often incendiary Cotton commented:
‘I certainly didn’t hear what Sen. Durbin has said repeatedly. Sen. Durbin has a history of misrepresenting what happens in White House meetings, though. So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by that.’
.@SenTomCotton on immigration meeting and reported Trump comments: “I didn’t hear it and I was sitting no further away from Donald Trump than Dick Durbin was.” Says @SenatorDurbin “has a history” of misrepresenting what happens in WH meetings. pic.twitter.com/t3GQILBSmj
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) January 14, 2018
The “history” Cotton refers to consists of Durbin having allegedly mischaracterized remarks made by a Republican to then-President Obama back in 2013.
After his initial comments, Cotton expressed support for the president’s overall position of wanting the U.S. to move away from a more family oriented immigration system to one that is more merit-based, something that the president again expressed support for on Twitter on Sunday morning.
In response to the round of disparaging comments against Durbin offered by Republican Senators on television this Sunday, both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Durbin’s own spokesperson spoke out.
Schumer wrote on Twitter that “to impugn Senator Durbin’s integrity is disgraceful.”
Directly referencing disparaging comments made about Durbin by Perdue, Durbin’s spokesperson Ben Marter commented that the issue is credibility, something he believes Durbin has and Perdue does not.
Credibility is something that’s built by being consistently honest over time. Senator Durbin has it. Senator Perdue does not. Ask anyone who’s dealt with both. https://t.co/x6nKnp8H05
— Ben Marter (@BenMarter) January 14, 2018
Ironically Durbin isn’t even the only one to have confirmed press reports. Outgoing Republican Senator Jeff Flake did so as well, saying that, although he wasn’t in the meeting, he heard about the comments before they came out in the press.
The reported comments prompted an unsurprising round of condemnation, including from interests as high as the United Nations.
Featured Image via Screenshot from the Video.