President Donald Trump asked why the United States was accepting immigrants from "shithole countries," multiple news outlets reported Thursday. Trump reportedly made the comment while meeting with senators about a bipartisan deal on immigration.
According to the aide, when the group came to discussing immigration from Africa, Trump asked why America would want immigrants from "all these shithole countries" and that the US should have more people coming in from places like Norway.
But in an afternoon of drama and confusing developments, three other GOP lawmakers - including two hardliners on immigration - were also in Trump's office for Thursday's meeting and said it did not produce the results Graham and Durbin were hoping for.
Spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement that while "Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries", Trump "will always fight for the American people".
The Trump Administration announced late previous year that it would end a temporary residency permit program that allowed almost 60,000 citizens from Haiti to live and work in the United States after a devastating 2010 natural disaster.
According to the publication, sources from the White House have stated that Trump suggested that the U.S. instead work towards bringing in people from Norway and countries in Asia. The White House denied Trump made those remarks. "Personally, as someone from South Shithole, I'm offended, Mr. President", the host said. The president, according to Durbin, "said things that were hate-filled, vile and racist". "The White House must immediately explain the situation and leave no doubt regarding what was said and in what context", he added. For them it's just one more way to work Trump's shrinking base into a lather.
Florida state Sen. Daphne Campbell, a Haiti-born Democrat who lives in Miami-Dade County, quickly jumped on Trump's remarks Thursday evening, issuing a press release calling on Scott to denounce the "racist comments".
"He will always reject temporary, weak and unsafe stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway", Shah said.
A person familiar with the meeting said Illinois Democratic Sen.
While bipartisan groups of lawmakers meet to discuss a compromise, it's unclear whether Congress will produce a viable immigration reform package for Trump to sign.
Neal Katyal, a lead lawyer challenging Trump's attempts to impose a travel ban on mostly Muslim nations, has argued the travel ban reveals a discriminatory intent on the president's part, and responded to news of Trump's comment in light of the ongoing legal battle.
Political commentators and members of the Congressional Black Caucus pointed out that Trump's comments denigrated majority-black nations and expressed a preference for the majority-white Norway.