Graham challenged derogatory comments allegedly made by President Donald Trump
A fellow senator says South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham was the first to confront President Donald Trump about a derogatory comment several people say the president made about Haiti and African countries during an Oval Office meeting discussing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
The Washington Post reported that several people who were in the meeting said the president grew frustrated with lawmakers when they discussed protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal.
“Why are we having all these people from sh–hole countries come here?” President Trump said, before suggesting that the U.S. should have more people coming in from countries such as Norway, according to sources who spoke with The Washington Post. Those briefed about the meeting told The Washington Post that the president singled out Haiti, and said immigrants from that country should be left out of any deal.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, a key negotiator in DACA talks, recounted the meeting on MSNBC Friday.
“He said, ‘Haitians. Do we need more Haitians?’ Then he went on and started to describe the immigration from Africa that was being protected in this bipartisan measure. That’s when he used these vile and vulgar comments, calling the nations they come from ‘sh–holes.’ The exact word used by the president. Not just once, but repeatedly. That was the nature of this conversation,” Durbin said.
Durbin said the president “said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly.”
Durbin said Graham immediately objected to the president’s comments.
“My colleague, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, spoke up and made a direct comment on what the president said. I was very proud of him, it took courage for what he did. And I made my own comments in response to it. But for him to confront the president as he did, literally sitting next to him, took extraordinary political courage, and I respect him for it,” Durbin said.
Graham has not yet publicly commented on what the president said or on Durbin’s remarks.
The president tweeted later on Friday: “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!”