WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump provided a partial denial in public however privately defended his extraordinary remarks disparaging Haitians and African nations.
Trump mentioned he was solely expressing what many individuals suppose however will not say about immigrants from economically depressed nations, in line with an individual who spoke to the president as criticism of his feedback ricocheted across the globe.
Trump spent Thursday night making a flurry of calls to pals and out of doors advisers to guage their response to the tempest, mentioned the confidant, who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of he wasn’t approved to reveal a non-public dialog. Trump wasn’t apologetic about his inflammatory remarks and denied he was racist, as a substitute, blaming the media for distorting his that means, the confidant mentioned.
Critics of the president, together with some in his personal Republican Party, took time Friday blasting the vulgar feedback he made behind closed doorways. In his assembly with a bunch of senators, he had questioned why the U.S. would settle for extra immigrants from Haiti and “shithole nations” in Africa as he rejected a bipartisan immigration deal, in line with one participant and folks briefed on the exceptional Oval Office dialog.
The feedback revived fees that the president is racist and roiled immigration talks that have been already on tenuous footing.
“The language utilized by me on the DACA assembly was robust, however this was not the language used,” Trump insisted in a collection of Friday morning tweets, pushing again on some depictions of the assembly.
But Trump and his advisers notably didn’t dispute essentially the most controversial of his remarks: utilizing the phrase “shithole” to explain African nations and saying he would favor immigrants from nations like Norway as a substitute.
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the one Democrat within the room, mentioned Trump had certainly mentioned what he was reported to have mentioned. The remarks, Durbin mentioned, have been “vile, hate-filled and clearly racial of their content material.”
He mentioned Trump used essentially the most vulgar time period “greater than as soon as.”
“If that is not racism, I do not know how one can outline it,” Florida GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen instructed WPLG-TV in Miami.
Tweeted Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona: “The phrases utilized by the president, as associated to me immediately following the assembly by these in attendance, weren’t ‘robust,’ they have been abhorrent and repulsive.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., known as the feedback “beneath the dignity of the presidency” and mentioned Trump’s want to see extra immigrants from nations like Norway was “an effort to set this nation again generations by selling a homogenous, white society.”
Republican leaders have been largely silent, although House Speaker Paul Ryan mentioned the vulgar language was “very unlucky, unhelpful.”
Trump’s insults — alongside together with his rejection of the bipartisan immigration deal that six senators had drafted — additionally threatened to additional complicate efforts to increase protections for a whole bunch of 1000’s of younger immigrants, a lot of whom have been dropped at this nation as kids and now are right here illegally.
Trump final yr ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which offered safety from deportation together with the power to work legally within the U.S. He gave Congress till March to give you a legislative repair.
The three Democratic and three GOP senators who’d struck their proposed deal had been working for months on how one can stability these protections with Trump’s calls for for border safety, an finish to a visa lottery aimed toward growing immigrant range, and limits to immigrants’ capability to sponsor members of the family to hitch them in America.
It’s unclear now how a deal may emerge, and failure may result in a authorities shutdown.
“The rhetoric simply makes it tougher, and that is unlucky,” mentioned Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, a senior House lawmaker. “I do not suppose it makes it inconceivable, however I think the Democrats are sitting there going, ‘Why would we wish to compromise with him on something?'”
There have been additionally questions on which lawmakers have been in place to conduct significant talks. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 GOP senator, and different Republicans have derided the group of six senators as having little clout. Initial bargaining has additionally occurred amongst a separate group of 4 leaders — the second-ranking Republican and Democrat from each the House and Senate, a bunch to which each Cornyn and Durbin belong.
At a discussion board Friday on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Ryan, R-Wis., mentioned, “We simply should get it carried out.”
Durbin mentioned, “We have seven days and the clock is ticking. Our bipartisan group continues to construct assist for the one deal on the town.” He mentioned he needs to name the invoice to the ground of the Senate early subsequent week.
Lawmakers have till Jan. 19 to approve a government-wide stopgap spending invoice, and Republicans will want Democratic votes to push the measure by way of. But some Democrats have threatened to withhold assist until an immigration pact is solid.
Trump’s feedback got here as Durbin was presenting particulars of the compromise plan that included offering $1.6 billion for a primary installment of the president’s long-sought border wall.
Trump took specific problem with the concept that individuals who’d fled to the U.S. after disasters hit their houses in locations resembling El Salvador, Guatemala and Haiti can be allowed to remain as a part of the deal, in line with the individuals, who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t approved to publicly describe the dialogue.
When it got here to speak of extending protections for Haitians, Durbin mentioned Trump replied: “We do not want extra Haitians.'”
“He mentioned ‘Put me down for wanting extra Europeans to return to this nation. Why do not we get extra individuals from Norway?” Durbin instructed reporters in Chicago.
The administration introduced final yr that it will finish a short lived residency allow program that allowed almost 60,000 Haitians to dwell and work within the U.S. within the wake of a devastating 2010 earthquake.
Trump insisted Friday that he “by no means mentioned something derogatory about Haitians aside from Haiti is, clearly, a really poor and troubled nation. Never mentioned ‘take them out.’ Made up by Dems.” Trump wrote, “I’ve an exquisite relationship with Haitians. Probably ought to file future conferences – sadly, no belief!”
Trump didn’t reply to shouted questions on his feedback as he signed a proclamation Friday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is Monday.
Sens. David Perdue, R-Ga., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who each attended the Thursday assembly, mentioned in a press release that they “don’t recall the president saying these feedback particularly.” What Trump did do, they mentioned, was “name out the imbalance in our present immigration system, which doesn’t shield American staff and our nationwide curiosity.”
But Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., mentioned by Durbin to have voiced objection to Trump’s feedback in the course of the assembly, issued a press release that didn’t dispute the remarks.
“Following feedback by the president, I mentioned my piece on to him yesterday. The president and all these attending the assembly know what I mentioned and the way I really feel,” Graham mentioned, including: “I’ve at all times believed that America is an thought, not outlined by its individuals however by its beliefs.”
Associated Press writers Sara Burnett in Chicago and Jonathan Lemire, Andrew Taylor and Matthew Daly in Washington contributed to this report.