Donald Trump has rejected reports that he ranted about immigration from “s***hole countries” in a closed-door discussion at the White House. The US President said there was a “tough” meeting but that “this was not the language used”.
His denial followed a series of tweets in which he again called for a “merit-based system of immigration”.
Addressing reports about his use of expletives, Mr Trump tweeted: “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!”
According to the Washington Post, when plans were floated to protect some immigrants as part of the DACA deal Mr Trump asked: “Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?”
Rupert Colville, a UN human rights spokesman, called Mr Trump’s offensive remarks about Haiti, El Salvador and unspecified African nations “racist”, saying “there is no other word you can use”.
But the President later reiterated his denial, adding: “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!”
Democratic senator Dick Durbin, who was present at the Oval Office meeting, said during a press conference on Friday that reports of Mr Trump’s “hate-filled, vile and racist” language were accurate.
The President used the word “s***hole” “not just once but repeatedly”, Mr Durbin said at an event in Chicago.
Earlier on Friday morning Mr Trump had criticised a “so-called bipartisan DACA deal” as not going far enough in protecting the US from “large numbers of people from high-crime countries”.
The DACA programme – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – offered work…