Last Updated Dec 23, 2017 4:51 PM EST
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Saturday said senior administration officials deny a New York Times report that claims the president said Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS” and that immigrants from Nigeria won’t want to return to their “huts.”
“General (John) Kelly, General (H.R.) McMaster, Secretary (Rex) Tillerson, Secretary (Kirstjen) Nielsen, and all other senior staff actually in the meeting deny these outrageous claims and it’s both sad and telling The New York Times would print the lies of their anonymous sources anyway,” Sanders told CBS News.
The Times reported that the president in June, entering a meeting with top administration officials after meeting with policy adviser, Mr. Trump made comments about people who came to the country from Haiti and Nigeria. The president, six officials who attended or were briefed about the meeting told The Times, had a document listing how many immigrants had received visas to enter the U.S. in 2017.
The president complained about the more than 2,500 who came from Afghanistan, which the president reportedly described as a terrorist haven. Haiti sent 15,000 people. The president said they “all have AIDS,” the Times reported, based off one person who attended the meeting and another person who was briefed about it by a different person in attendance.
The Times reported the president also complained about the 40,000 people who had come from Nigeria, saying they would never “go back to their huts” in Africa after being in the U.S., based on two officials’ accounts.
The White House insisted to The Times that the president did not use the words “AIDS” or “huts” in the meeting.
According to the Times report, Kelly and Miller became frustrated with Tillerson, blaming the secretary of state for the flow of people from abroad.
Mr. Trump has made tightening immigration a key platform of his campaign and presidency. The president’s— mostly from Muslim-majority countries — is currently facing legal challenges in court.
CBS News’ Jillian Hughes contributed to this report.
© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.