Democrats participating in discussions on immigration reform with Republicans and the White House are not participating in “good faith,” said two Republican senators on Friday.
“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,” said Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA), who have been heavily involved in the discussions.
They also disputed Sen. Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) accusation that President Trump questioned why the U.S. would accept immigrants from “shithole” countries like Haiti, El Salvador, and those in Africa instead of places like Norway.
Both Cotton and Perdue were in the Oval Office meeting in which Trump allegedly made those remarks, and Durbin said he heard them.
“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,” they said in a statement.
The “shithole” remarks were first reported by the Washington Post on Thursday, and attributed to “several people briefed on the meeting” and “people familiar with the meeting.”
On Friday, Durbin claimed that Trump said those things.
“In the course of [Trump’s] comments, he said things that were hate-filled, vile and racist,” he told reporters in Illinois, according to USA Today. “l use those words advisingly, I understand how powerful they are. I cannot believe that in the history of the White House and that Oval Office any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday.”
The president also denied Durbin’s accusation, tweeting on Friday that there was “unfortunately, no trust!”:
“Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said ‘take them out.’ Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!”
Meanwhile, CNN played up the alleged “shithole” remark, running different banners all day with the word.