Trump Attempts to Clean Up “Shithole”

A Democratic lawmaker, who was in the immigration meeting Thursday, confirmed the president’s “hate-filled” remarks.

Ron Sachs/ZUMA

President Donald Trump appeared to deny using the word “shithole” to describe countries such as Haiti, El Salvador, and other African nations during a meeting on immigration, as reported in the Washington Post on ThursdayTrump on Friday did not directly reference using the expletive, but insisted that the language was more generally “tough.”

Trump’s meek denial came during a series of tweets blasting an immigration deal reached by six bipartisan senators on Thursday. He slammed the proposal as a “big step backwards” and claimed Democratic lawmakers were not interested in border security.

Trump’s disparaging remarks on Thursday, which also included a call to bring in more immigrants from countries like Norway, sparked intense international outrage for what many condemned as plainly racist. “If confirmed these are shocking and shameful comments from the president of the United States,” United Nations human rights spokesman Rupert Coleville said. “There is no other word you can use but racist.”

The White House on Thursday did not deny the president’s alarming remarks, and instead defended Trump’s stance on immigration and will to “fight for the American people.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), one of the lawmakers present for the immigration meeting with the president, condemned Trump’s “hate-filled, vile, and racist” comments, adding that he had not seen any reports in the press that were “inaccurate.”

“To no surprise, the president started tweeting this morning, denying that he used those words,” Durbin said. “It is not true. He said these hate-filled these things and he said them repeatedly.”

An hour after Trump’s first vague denial on Thursday, he followed up with a more specific reference to the Post report, but still failed to directly address the “shithole” comment.

This post has been updated throughout.

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