13, January 2018
US President Donald Trump has admitted to using “tough” language while commenting on immigrants during a private meeting with lawmakers on Thursday.
During the meeting, in which he rejected a bipartisan deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, he reportedly asked why “people from shithole countries come to” the United States.
His contemptuous comments, which were about immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti and African countries, have provoked sever criticism in the US and abroad.
However, in a series of Friday morning tweets, Trump said that “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.”
He also denied saying that Haitians must be removed from negotiations about protected status for people from certain countries.
“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!”
However, Senator Dick Durbin, the only Democrat in the room disputed the president’s account.
“He said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly,” Durbin said. “When the question was asked about Haitians … he said, ‘Haitians? Do we need more Haitians?’”
Also, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake tweeted that “the words used by the President, as related to me directly following the meeting by those in attendance, were not ‘tough,’ they were abhorrent and repulsive.”
“I think it was stupid and irresponsible and childish,” said Republican Mike Simpson. “He’s president of the United States. That’s not how a president behaves.”
African countries expressed disbelief and disgust at the president’s remarks. The United Nations human rights office also denounced as “racist” Trump’s remarks.
During the 2016 presidential race, Trump campaigned for “a total and complete shutdown” of US borders on those he deemed as undesirable.
Earlier this week, the Trump administration ended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than 260,000 immigrants from El Salvador, forcing them to gradually leave the US.