Haiti Calls Reported President Trump Remark 'Racist,' Says 'Shoc - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Haiti Calls Reported President Trump Remark 'Racist,' Says 'Shocked'

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Haiti says it is "deeply shocked and outraged" by President Donald Trump's reported vulgar remark on migration calling it "racist."

The Haitian government says in a statement that "these insulting and reprehensible statements in no way reflect the virtues of wisdom, restraint and discernment that must be cultivated by any high political authority."

It adds that the comment as reported "reflects a totally erroneous and racist view of the Haitian community and its contribution to the United States."

On Thursday Trump questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "shithole countries" in Africa.

President Trump’s contemptuous description of an entire continent startled lawmakers in the meeting and immediately revived charges that the president is racist. The White House did not deny his remark but issued a statement saying Trump supports immigration policies that welcome “those who can contribute to our society.”

Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, on Friday told reporters "shitholes" was "the exact word used by the president not just once but repeatedly."

Durbin added, "When the question was asked about Haitians ... he said, 'Hatians? Do we need more Hatians?'"

Later, Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue issued a joint statement saying, "President Trump brought everyone to the table this week and listened to both sides. But regrettably, it seems that not everyone is committed to negotiating in good faith. In regards to Senator Durbin's accusation, we do not recall the President saying these comments specifically but what he did call out was the imbalance in our current immigration system, which does not protect American workers and our national interest. We, along with the President, are committed to solving an issue many in Congress have failed to deliver on for decades."

President Trump himself tweeted Friday: “The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used.” He went on to criticize the immigration deal, saying: “What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made - a big setback for DACA!”

The White House did not immediately respond to questions about the president’s tweet.

Trump denied Friday that he used the vulgar expression, saying "this was not the language used."

Haiti's ambassador to Washington told local radio that his government complained to the U.S. Embassy in Haiti.

The Trump administration announced late last year that it would end a temporary residency permit program that allowed nearly 60,000 citizens from Haiti to live and work in the United States following a devastating 2010 earthquake.

President Trump has spoken positively about Haitians in public. During a 2016 campaign event in Miami, he said “the Haitian people deserve better” and told the audience of Haitian-Americans he wanted to “be your greatest champion, and I will be your champion.”

On Friday, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham released this statement: 

“Yesterday Senator Durbin and I met with President Trump at the White House to discuss our bipartisan proposal on border security and immigration. Following comments by the President, I said my piece (sic) directly to him yesterday. The President and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel. I’ve always believed that America is an idea, not defined by its people but by its ideals. The American ideal is embraced by people all over the globe. It was best said a long time ago, E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One. Diversity has always been our strength, not our weakness. In reforming immigration we cannot lose these American Ideals. The American people will ultimately judge us on the outcome we achieve, not the process which led to it. I know the bipartisan proposal discussed at the White House can get a lot of support from both sides. As always, I look forward to considering additional ideas that could make the proposal even better. I appreciate Senator Durbin’s statements and have enjoyed working with him and many others on this important issue. I believe it is vitally important to come to a bipartisan solution to the immigration and border challenges we face today. I am committed to working with Republicans and Democrats to find common ground we can move forward.”

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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