President Trump on Friday tweeted two separate denials that he had referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries as “shitholes.” The first appeared to be a blanket denial in which Trump admitted to using “tough” language in a Thursday meeting with lawmakers to discussion immigration policy, but insisted the words reported by the Washington Post were “not the language used.”
He followed that tweet with one that called the previous denial into question.
By singling out Haiti in this second denial, Trump leaves an obvious question unanswered: Did he call other countries “shitholes”?
Yes, Democratic senator Dick Durbin told reporters Friday morning. “You’ve seen the comments in the press. I’ve not read one of them that’s inaccurate,” Durbin told reporters Friday morning, referring to Trump’s comments as “hate-filled, vile, and racist.” He went on to directly confirm that Trump called African nations “shitholes.”
In addition to the “shithole” remark, the Post reported that Trump took issue with restoring protected status to Haitian immigrants. “Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump reportedly said. Durbin confirmed that Trump said that too.
Durbin is the first of the lawmakers who attended Thursday’s meeting to confirm the Post’s reporting, but he won’t be the only one asked about it Friday. He made sure of that by relaying a moment from the meeting that Senator Lindsey Graham will no doubt be asked about soon.
“For the record, my colleague, Republican senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina spoke up and made a direct comment on what the president said. I was very proud of him. It took courage for what he did,” Durbin said. “For him to confront the president as he did, literally sitting next to him, took extraordinary political courage and I respect him for it.”