Trump denies ‘shithole countries’ comment

A furore erupted after reporting that President Trump referred to immigrants from ‘shithole countries’ in an Oval office meeting. Trump denies using those words, but others have corroborated the original story.

Washington Post: Trump derides protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries

President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they discussed protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to several people briefed on the meeting.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.

Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday. The president, according to a White House official, also suggested he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries because he felt that they help the United States economically.

In addition, the president singled out Haiti, telling lawmakers that immigrants from that country must be left out of any deal, these people said.

“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.”

This set off yet another round of criticisms and defences of Trump. Initially there was no denial from the White House.

NY Times: Trump Alarms Lawmakers With Disparaging Words for Haiti and Africa

Mr. Trump’s remarks, the latest example of his penchant for racially tinged remarks denigrating immigrants, left members of Congress from both parties attending the meeting in the Cabinet Room alarmed and mystified.

In a written statement, Raj Shah, the White House deputy press secretary, did not deny the account of the meeting on Thursday or directly address Mr. Trump’s comments.

“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people. Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.”

But the president’s vulgar language on a delicate issue left the fate of the broader immigration debate in limbo and had the potential to torpedo the chances of achieving the deal being sought to protect about 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.

And they drew a backlash from Republican and Democratic lawmakers, many of whom called Mr. Trump’s utterances unacceptable at best and plainly racist at worst.

Representative Mia Love, a Republican of Utah who is of Haitian descent, demanded an apology from the president, saying his comments were “unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values.”

“As an American, I am ashamed of the president,” said Representative Luis V. Gutiérrez, Democrat of Illinois. “His comments are disappointing, unbelievable, but not surprising.” He added, we can now “say with 100 percent confidence that the president is a racist who does not share the values enshrined in our Constitution or Declaration of Independence.”

The reactions were extraordinary bipartisan rebukes to a sitting president, but they only fanned what has been a long-simmering debate over Mr. Trump’s views and talk on race.

Unsurprisingly Trump has tweeted denials.

But these denials are disputed.

Chicago Sun Times – Durbin on Trump: ‘He said those hateful things, and he said them repeatedly’

Sen. Dick Durbin on Friday morning confirmed that President Donald Trump referred to some countries as “shithole” countries during a discussion on immigration policies and said things that were “hate-filled, vile and racist.”

Durbin, who was in the meeting with Trump, made his comments just moments after Trump denied using the expletive on Twitter.

Durbin noted that there were 12 witnesses, including several other U.S. senators, in the room during Trump’s comments.

Durbin said that during the meeting Trump said things “in the course of his comments which were hate-filed, vile and racist.”

“I use those word advisedly. I understand how powerful they are. But I cannot believe in the history of the White House in that Oval Office that any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday.”

So another shit storm over Trump, who seems to have lied in denial.

It’s hard to describe this as a new low for the Trump presidency, it just keeps bumping along the bottom.