As we discussed yesterday, both Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have said that President Donald Trump did indeed refer to Haiti and Africa as “shithole” countries. However, Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.) on ABC This Week says that the word was never used. Period. He also said that the meeting was “productive” and suggested that Durbin is lying (and has lied previously) about such meetings. PreviouslyTom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Sen. Perdue have said that they simply do not recall. Now Purdue says that he has a clear recollection and the words were never used. Sen. Jeff Flake has said that he met with members in the meeting before the words were made public and that members openly discussed Trump’s use of these words. Finally, a conservative columnist has gone public with the allegation that he spoke to friends of the President who said that he called to boast about using the term to energize his base.
President Donald Trump is denying that he referred to Haiti and African countries as “shithole countries” in a meeting with members of Congress. Perdue said on Sunday: “I’m telling you he did not use that word, George. And I’m telling you it’s a gross misrepresentation. How many times do you want me to say that?”
In the meantime, Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen appeared on Fox Sunday with Chris Wallace (who in my opinion is consistently one of the best interviewers in the media). She said that she did not recall if the words were used. Wallace was clearly skeptical and pressed her on the how dubious such a statement sounds. He noted that he could understand if she said that Trump never said it or did say it. However he noted that few people believe that such a statement by the President would not be recalled. Nielsen looked distinctly uncomfortable but maintained that position even as Wallace noted that Graham reportedly confronted the President on the use of the words. Moreover, Perdue, Graham, Durbin has clear (if conflicting memories) while Nielsen just does not remember if the President made such a highly inflammatory remark.
Flake said on ABC This Week that participants in that meeting had no such problem recollecting the words and spoke openly about the controversy before the words became public.
This is why the public has such open contempt for politicians. Either the words were used or not used but, as noted by Wallace, few people believe that these politicians would not remember such a scene and shocking language. In the end, I am more concerned with the fact that someone is obviously lying and I do not accept the moral relativism in Washington that no one expects you to tell the truth when it is beneficial to you or your party.
Do you believe that anyone could be in a meeting with six people in the Oval Office and not recall whether such language (and subsequent objections) were heard?
If not, do you believe Durbin/Graham or Perdue?