On Friday, President  Donald Trump dismissed claims that the United States does need to allow people coming from “sh—hole countries” Haiti and El Salvador to enter the country. He supposedly made the comment privately in a conversation with members of the so-called "Gang of Six": members of a bipartisan group of legislators who met with the president on Thursday to discuss immigration reform. “The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made - a big setback for DACA!” the president wrote on Twitter.

On Thursday, the White House did not deny that the remark was made by the president but said that the media focus on the comment was a distraction from the issues at hand. There are reports that Sen. Durbin's staff leaked the remarks attributed to President Trump.

On Thursday, Trump met with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) at the White House where the president supposedly made the remark. Both Durbin and Graham are advocates of effective amnesty for the approximately 800,000 so-called DREAMers -- illegal aliens who were allegedly brought to the U.S. as minors and who now benefit from the Obama-era Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which is to expire in March. Trump has called on Congress to provide a solution for DREAMers, who have been authorized to reside and work in the country temporarily. Many of them have American citizen children.

According to various reports, Trump said at the meeting with Durbin and Graham, “Why are we having all these people from sh—hole countries coming here?” The Washington Post reported that Trump also supposedly said that the U.S. should “bring more people from countries like Norway.”

At the meeting with members of Congress, Trump rejected their immigration proposal and told them to resume negotiations. On Friday, Trump tweeted his reasoning. Trump wrote on Twitter: "The so-called bipartisan DACA deal presented yesterday to myself and a group of Republican Senators and Congressmen was a big step backwards. [The border] wall was not properly funded, chain [migration] and [diversity visa] lottery were made worse and the United States would be forced to take large numbers of people from high crime countries which are doing badly. I want a merit based system of immigration and people who will help take our country to the next level. I want safety and security for our people. I want to stop the massive inflow of drugs. I want to fund our military, not do a Dem defund. Because of the Democrats not being interested in life and safety, DACA has now taken a big step backwards. The Dems will threaten “shutdown,” but what they are really doing is shutting down our military, at a time we need it most. Get smart, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made - a big setback for DACA!

This week, President Trump ended Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for 250,000 Salvadorans, who came to the U.S. more than 10 years ago following a series of devastating earthquakes in Central America. Trump has also recently terminated TPS for Haitians, while a similar action is expected shortly for TPS for Hondurans.

“In the course of his comments, [Trump] said things that were hate-filled, vile and racist,” Sen. Durbin told reporters on Friday. “I cannot believe in this history of the White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday.” Durbin said that the report in The Washington Post was accurate. “You’ve seen the comments in the press,” Durbin said. “I’ve not seen one of them that’s inaccurate. To no surprise, the president started tweeting this morning, denying that he used those words. It is not true. He said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly.”

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) were also present at the meeting. At least two Republicans who were not at the meeting called on Trump to apologize, including Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Rep. Mia Love of Utah. Love is of Haitian parentage. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a Republican, called Trump's remarks "abhorrent." Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said on Friday that “the evidence is incontrovertible” that President Trump is a racist. Appearing on MSNBC’s “Live with Hallie Jackson,” Steele was asked if he thinks Trump is a racist. “Yeah, I do,” Steele said. “At this point … the evidence is controvertible.” Steele also claimed that Trump uses race as a tool “to move people emotionally to a space where he wants them to be to get a reaction out of them.” Steele said, “There are a whole lot of folks like Donald Trump. White folks in this country who have a problem with the browning of America. … When they talk about [wanting] their country back, they are talking about a country that was very safely white, less brown and less committed to that browning process.”



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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