President Donald Trump is denying that he referred to Haiti and African countries as “shithole countries” in a meeting with members of Congress. Clearly someone is lying and it should not be hard to determine who. One of the members in the meeting, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), says that Trump is lying and that he clearly made the statement. The question now is recollection of some of the other people in the room, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).
Update: Sen. Graham has now issued a statement that appears to confirm that the President said this and says that he
directly challenged the President after his comment. Another member has said that Graham told him that President did say it.
Durbin says that the deeply disturbed words — and other such language — was used by the President. He says that the President “said these hateful things” “repeatedly.” He refers to “vile” comments being used that shocked the members. Some of Durbin’s comments are less compelling like his objection to the term “chain migration” as offensive to African Americans who came to the United States in chains. Trump reportedly scoffed at that comparison as “a good line.” The issue is really the use of the “shithole” reference and Trump’s denial of using any “derogatory” language.
Allies of the President have wondered why it took 15 hours for him to deny using the offensive language. Other allies like Peter King have issued supportive statements for the President. However, a former RNC Chairman is now calling Trump a “racist.”
The published comments have caused an international outcry as press are searching for these other members who can help establish the truth. The optics could obviously not be worse going into the Martin Luther King weekend.
The language is separate from the merits of the debate over whether the United States should shift to a policy of taking the most skilled immigrants as do many other countries.
There are a couple of curious stories following the outcry, which includes the denunciation from the United Nations. One story says that a couple of members said that they “could not recall” whether the President said such a thing. If a President called all of Africa and Haiti a “shithole,” it would stick in the mind of most people. Yet, despite Graham saying that he directly challenged the President on the use of the language, Sen. Cotton and Sen. Perdue has said that they simply do not recall.
Another curious story out of the White House is that the President is delighted by the controversy and was taking “a victory lap” last night when the story exploded.