President Donald Trump attacked Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) Monday for confirming Trump’s reported remarks describing Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” in a closed Oval Office meeting.
Sources told The Washington Post Trump called the nations “shithole countries” during the meeting with lawmakers Thursday. “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” the president said, according to the Post.
The White House did not immediately deny Trump’s comments on Thursday, and the president himself was tweeting after the reports came out without denying the remarks. Trump’s eventual denial came Friday morning, hours after the reports went viral.
Despite the denial, Durbin told the press he personally heard the president make the comments and said the news reports he’d seen were accurate. He was in the meeting with Trump, along with Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).
Perdue and Cotton, who are loyal to Trump and have tried to work closely with the president on immigration policy last year, have not confirmed Durbin’s version of events. Perdue told ABC’s “This Week” that the press was offering a “gross misrepresentation” of the president’s comments. Cotton agreed with Perdue, releasing a joint statement saying they did not recall the vulgar language described by the press.
White House reporter Josh Dawsey tweeted Sunday that a White House source informed him the conflicting accounts from Cotton and Perdue come from a debate as to whether Trump used the word “shithole” or “shithouse.”
Conservative columnist Erick Erickson said Trump was calling friends to brag about the “shithole” remark, saying it would play well to his base.