President Donald Trump questioned Thursday why the US would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "s--hole countries" in Africa rather than places like Norway, as he rejected a bipartisan immigration deal, according to people briefed on the Oval Office conversation.
So was Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of IL, who told reporters separately on Friday morning that Graham stood up to the president after he reportedly made derogatory comments about Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, and wondered aloud why the United States couldn't attract more immigrants from predominantly-white Norway.
Trump first asked why the United States would want people from nations such as Haiti, and then reportedly asked why America would want immigrants from "all these shithole countries". "They're s***hole countries. We should have more people from Norway".
Amid widespread coverage of his reported remarks at a private meeting with lawmakers to discuss immigration on Thursday, Trump on Friday tweeted his language at the meeting "was tough, but this was not the language used".
Some in the worldwide community questioned Trump's view of different races after he reportedly made controversial comments about Haiti and African nations.
Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), speaks to media about Syrian army stage air-strike over civilians in Douma, Aug. 18, 2015, in Geneva, Switzerland.
"You can not dismiss entire countries and continents as "shitholes" whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome", he added.
The White House did not deny his remark but issued a statement saying Trump supports immigration policies that welcome "those who can contribute to our society". "In the spirit of the people of Haiti we feel in the statements, if they were made, the president was either misinformed or miseducated about Haiti and its people", he said in a statement.
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Ex-Mexican President Vicente Fox told Mr Trump on Twitter his "mouth is the foulest shithole in the world".
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.
But nearly immediately a senator who attended the meeting said it was "the exact word used by the president - not just once but repeatedly". Trump reportedly said. "Take them out".
The program, known by its initials DACA, protects from deportation between 700,000 and 800,000 young people illegally brought to the United States as children.
Today as Trump signed a proclamation at the White House honoring Martin Luther King Jr. It's not how a president should behave. "Most of all, it's not what a president should believe", tweeted the Democratic former vice president Joe Biden. "We're better than this", Biden said.
"The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used". U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley had asked nations not to vote against the United States and said she would keep track of those who did.
Democrats seized on Trump's slur to suggest he is anti-immigrant or worse.