Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) said Sunday that President Donald Trump did not use the word “s**thole” to describe Haiti, El Salvador and African nations during a White House meeting on immigration.
“I’m telling you he did not use that word, George,” Perdue said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos. “And I’m telling you it’s a gross misrepresentation. How many times do you want me to say that?”
Perdue was one of six lawmakers present in the Oval Office during last week’s meeting when the president reportedly asked why the United States admitted immigrants from “s**thole countries” like Haiti when it should admit more from nations like Norway.
“Why are we having all these people from s**thole countries come here?” Trump allegedly asked lawmakers.
The White House last week did not deny that the president made the comment, choosing instead to reiterate his concern with current immigration policy:
Erm, are we calling this “shithole-gate?” Here’s the WH’s response: pic.twitter.com/pASDKx4Eji
— Brittany Shepherd (@blrshepherd) January 11, 2018
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who was also in the meeting with the president, has neither confirmed nor denied Trump’s reported remarks, but said he appreciated statements from Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).
“Following comments by the President, I said my piece directly to him yesterday. The President and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel. I’ve always believed that America is an idea, not defined by its people but by its ideals,” Graham said in a statement Friday.
“Diversity has always been our strength, not our weakness. In reforming immigration we cannot lose these American ideals,” he added.
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