Durbin asserts Trump said 'shithole countries,' disputing Republicans' account

Sen. Dick Durbin asserted Tuesday that President Donald Trump called certain African nations "shithole countries" dur...

Posted: Jan 17, 2018 12:21 AM
Updated: Jan 17, 2018 12:21 AM

Sen. Dick Durbin asserted Tuesday that President Donald Trump called certain African nations "shithole countries" during a bipartisan meeting on immigration reform at the White House last week, despite evolving explanations from some Republicans.

"Let me say they're wrong. I can tell you explicitly they are wrong," the Illinois Democrat told CNN's Jake Tapper in an exclusive sit-down interview. "And let me also say, is that their defense, that S-House is acceptable, S-Hole he would never say? Come on. To think that the President of the United States would refer to any country on Earth as an S-House country, for goodness' sakes, what does that say?"

Over the weekend, two Republican senators said the President did not say "shithole"

"Let me say they're wrong. I can tell you explicitly they are wrong," Durbin said

Over the weekend, Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and David Purdue, who were both at the White House meeting, said the President did not say "shithole." A senior GOP source familiar with the matter told CNN that instead of hearing the President say "shithole" during the meeting, some Republicans actually heard "shithouse."

Perdue told ABC on Sunday that to say Trump used the word "shithole" would be a "gross misrepresentation."

On Friday, Cotton and Perdue issued a statement saying they did not recall the "shithole" comment.

No one disputes that the President expressed a preference for immigrants from places like Norway over places like Haiti, Central America and Africa.

Durbin also told Tapper the last two weeks have been "bizarre," recalling the recently televised meeting between bipartisan members of Congress and Trump, in which Trump agreed to go forward with a permanent legislative solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as well as comprehensive immigration reform.

"Then we called him two days later, (Republican) Senator (Lindsey) Graham and I, and said we've done it. We've met your criteria. We have a bipartisan bill. We're ready to go. And then to be called into the President's office to explain it to him and find that we've been sandbagged," Durbin added.

He said White House chief of staff John Kelly and White House senior adviser Stephen Miller brought in five other members of Congress "to refute any assertions ... that this was good policy," adding that "any attempt to kill immigration reform probably has Mr. Miller's fingerprints on it."

Durbin said Graham pushed back on Trump for his vulgar remark during the meeting.

"(H)e said 'My family was from one of those s-hole countries.' He used the word himself," Durbin continued, adding that Graham said, "'They came here with limited training, limited experience. They made a life, they started a business and they gave me a chance. That's what America is all about.'"

Trump's "shithole" remark has had implications in Washington and abroad. On Capitol Hill, Democrats and some Republicans denounced Trump's remark as they've tried to reach a deal on immigration, which could be essential to avoiding a government shutdown later this week.

And according to the State Department, several countries have summoned US diplomats to the respective nations they reside in to answer for Trump's comment, with more expected this week.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2012806

Reported Deaths: 51732
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings26711410025
Queens2656739604
Suffolk1945123323
Nassau1782353121
Bronx1760716405
New York1330424342
Westchester1262782246
Erie835241718
Richmond713901760
Monroe617161036
Orange46388782
Rockland45849946
Onondaga36254663
Dutchess28147438
Albany23800347
Oneida21556498
Niagara18486335
Broome17559348
Saratoga14517163
Ulster13159244
Schenectady12471193
Rensselaer10745136
Putnam1027491
Chautauqua8459137
Chemung7209133
Oswego703490
Ontario693992
Steuben6355142
St. Lawrence624695
Sullivan621070
Cayuga591590
Jefferson548765
Wayne530467
Cattaraugus521382
Genesee5102121
Herkimer4946107
Clinton458233
Madison432186
Fulton412288
Tompkins407749
Livingston403858
Montgomery3923117
Columbia3848100
Cortland356960
Tioga345058
Warren341856
Wyoming328251
Otsego322147
Allegany320483
Greene315674
Chenango313874
Washington287955
Orleans280183
Lewis248134
Franklin241312
Delaware219537
Seneca188956
Schoharie156816
Essex150826
Yates111226
Schuyler99314
Hamilton3012
Unassigned13864
Out of NY0218
Rome
Partly Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 27°
Binghamton
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 19°
Rome
Partly Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 27°
Rome
Mostly Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 27°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
Enter the Rock Your Body Giveaway from Alivana Aesthetics
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!