Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) now says he scolded President Trump at a White House meeting on immigration in which the president allegedly asked: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
In a statement on Friday, Graham reiterated standard pro-immigration, pro-amnesty talking points, claiming he nearly reprimanded Trump after he allegedly made the comment.
Yesterday Senator Durbin and I met with President Trump at the White House to discuss our bipartisan proposal on border security and immigration.
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.
The American ideal is embraced by people all over the globe. It was best said a long time ago, E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One. Diversity has always been our strength, not our weakness. In reforming immigration we cannot lose these American Ideals.
According to leaked comments when Trump and a group of Senators were discussing the various temporary protected status programs for Haitians, El Salvadorians, and others, Trump asked why the national immigration policy of the U.S. did not prioritize immigrants from more prosperous countries like Norway, rather than Haiti and El Salvador.
The leaked comments included:
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump allegedly said in referrence to African countries and Haiti.
“We should have more people from Norway,” Trump allegedly said.
Trump said in a statement online that he did not use the language described in the leaked report.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) — who, like Trump, have advocated for not only ending illegal immigration but also reducing legal immigration to raise Americans’ wages — said in a joint statement that they “do not recall” the president making the statements.
Cotton and Perdue also said the leaked report also showed how Democrats were attempting to derail all immigration negotiations with the White House, rather than compromising.
Cotton and Perdue stated:
President Trump brought everyone to the table this week and listened to both sides. But regrettably, it seems that not everyone is committed to negotiating in good faith.
In regards to Senator Durbin’s accusation, we do not recall the President saying these comments specifically but what he did call out was the imbalance in our current immigration system, which does not protect American workers and our national interest.
Democrats have not budged on their demand that the nearly 800,000 illegal aliens shielded from deportation by the President Obama-created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program be given amnesty, along with their parents who brought them here illegally.
Trump, though, has shown a willingness to compromise, going as far as endorsing Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA) immigration bill rolled out this week, which exchanges DACA amnesty for mandatory E-Verify, reductions in legal immigration, and full authorization of a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Such a maneuver by Trump to endorse legislation that gives amnesty to DACA illegal aliens is a risk for an administration that committed to its base of supporters that it would never consider amnesty until pro-American immigration reforms — such as cutting legal immigration in half and having a border wall constructed — were fully enacted.