This morning in the Trump twitterverse, the President denied saying “anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country.” His latest tweet didn’t spell out whether “a very poor and troubled country” is another way of saying “shithole,” the term he reportedly used during a White House meeting with legislators.
But in the first on-the-record corroboration of The Washington Post‘s scoop yesterday regarding Trump’s word choice, Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin, who attended the meeting, told reporters this morning that the President had said “shithole” several times during the meeting about immigration, according to The New York Times. Durbin, the Times reported, added that the expletive was just one of several Presidential comments that “were hate-filled, vile and racist.”
And just hours after the president’s denial tweet, CNN reported this morning that the president spent last night phoning allies to ask how the “shithole remark” was playing out in the press.
Capping a seven-tweet blast this morning, Trump wrote: “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!”
Original reports in WaPo and then the NYT Thursday quoted unnamed sources saying that Trump, in a meeting on immigration with members of Congress, called Haiti and some African nations “shithole countries.” The Times today also has Trump saying, “Why do we want people from Haiti here?” (Some accounts have Trump using the S-word specifically for some African nations and adding the “Why do we want people from Haiti here?” immediately after).
The vulgar comments were immediately denounced as racist by Democrats, Republicans kept mum, news channels struggled about whether to use the offending vulgarity in its un-asterisked form, and late-night comics concocted late-night responses.
Trump started his morning with a six-string tweet about the matter, beginning by insisting a DACA deal presented to him yesterday “was a big step backwards,” then went on to say that he wanted a merit-based immigration plan, and that “the language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language I used,” and finally insisted he never said anything derogatory about Haitians.