Last Updated Jan 15, 2018 5:38 PM EST
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, stood by his revelation that President Trump had said some immigrants who wish to come to the U.S. were coming from “sh*thole countries.”
When asked Monday afternoon if he regrets calling out Mr. Trump, the minority whip responded, “No, I don’t.”
Durbin, along with a handful of other lawmakers, went to the White House for a meeting last week to discuss a potential immigration deal when Mr. Trump allegedly made the “sh*thole” comment.
While the White House did not deny the comment, Mr. Trump has personally refuted claims that he used vulgar language. Following reports of his choice words, the president denied in a tweet that his words were portrayed accurately by Durbin.
“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” Mr. Trump wrote in a tweet. “What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!”
After Mr. Trump’s denial, Durbin fired back at the president.
“It’s not true. He said those hateful things, and he said them repeatedly,” Durbin said of Mr. Trump’s denial.
Monday, Durbin continued to refute Mr. Trump’s denial and also called on the White House to release any recordings of the meeting, should they exist.
“I don’t know if there was some other recording device that was being used within the Oval Office,” Durbin said. “If there was, I just want to call on the White House right now, release whatever you have. If they don’t have it so be it.”
Following Durbin’s comments Monday, Mr. Trump tweeted again to refute the Illinois Democrat.
“Senator Dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting,” Mr. Trump wrote in a tweet. “Deals can’t get made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our Military.”
Lawmakers in attendance at the meeting have mixed accounts of what Mr. Trump did or did not say. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, indicated that the account of the “sh*thole” comment was true.
“What I heard I didn’t like,” Graham said Monday after delivering a short speech at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day prayer breakfast in his home state.
“I will work with him and I will stand up to him,” he said of Mr. Trump later on. “I will do both. At the end of the day there is no solution without him.”
Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, and David Perdue, R-Georgia, initially said they couldn’t recall whether the president used the vulgar language, but on Sunday denied that the president had uttered the obscenity, possibly, as National Journal’s Rich Lowry pointed out, because a different word — “sh*thouse” — had been said, rather than “sh*thole.”
Monday, Durbin said he was “stunned” that this was Cotton and Perdue’s defense.
“I don’t know that changing the word from ‘hole’ to ‘house’ changes the impact which this has. This speaks to America and its view towards immigration, its message to the world,” Durbin said.
“They know better and if they are trying to rescue the White House by this distinction by ‘hole’ and ‘house,’ that is a thin read to try to create a rescue operation,” he later said.
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