'I want them to come in from everywhere,' president says of immigrants.
"I want them to come in from everywhere," Trump said after a reporter asked him about his immigration preferences during an Oval Office meeting with Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The defense follows his comments last week that he reportedly said during a White House meeting on immigration policy he would prefer the U.S. take in immigrants from countries like Norway, rather than El Salvador, Haiti or African countries.
“Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?” Trump was reported to have asked lawmakers.
Trump has denied making the comments, but Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, who was present at the meeting, was adamant Trump did made the controversial remarks.
Durbin's initial confirmation sparked condemnation from Trump who slammed "Dicky" in a tweet, saying the Illinois senator "misrepresented” what was said at the DACA meeting". Trump was referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program of immigration protections for those brought to the U.S. illegally as children, which he ended sparking a legislative crisis.
Trump's denial was backed up by some Republicans who were also present at the meeting. Senators Tom Cotton and David Purdue denied he used "s***hole" during the meeting, saying in a joint statement they "do not recall the President saying these comments specifically".
Another anonymous Republican source said some Republican heard the president say "s***house" rather than "s***hole", according to CNN.
Undetterred, Durbin told CNN on Tuesday that his Republican colleagues are categorically wrong.
"And let me also say, is that their defense, that S-House is acceptable, S-Hole he would never say? Come on. To think that the President of the United States would refer to any country on Earth as an S-House country, for goodness' sakes, what does that say?" he asked rhetorically.