After Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said Monday that President Donald Trump should release any recordings the White House has of the meeting in which Trump allegedly called some countries “shithole countries,” Trump said Durbin had “misrepresented” what he’d said.
“I don’t know if there was some other recording device that was being used within the Oval Office,” Durbin told reporters in Illinois. “If there was, I want to just call on the White House right now: Release whatever you have. If they don’t have it, so be it.”
Sen Durbin this morning stands by his previous comments about what Pres Trump said in DACA meeting pic.twitter.com/AAgCEfBCJW
— Tony Arnold (@tonyjarnold) January 15, 2018
As first reported by the Washington Post and later confirmed by Durbin, Trump asked in a meeting Thursday, referring to El Salvador, Haiti and unspecified African countries: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
“Why do we need more Haitians?” he reportedly said. “Take them out.”
Initially, the White House did not deny the Post’s reporting, with CNN’s Kaitlan Collins even reporting that unnamed White House staffers thought it would resonate with the President’s core supporters. Trump has since denied both quotes attributed to him by the Post. On Monday, he attacked Durbin specifically.
Senator Dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting. Deals can’t get made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our Military.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 15, 2018
“I am stunned that this is their defense,” Durbin said earlier Monday, referring to a claim from one unnamed White House official to the Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey that Trump could have said “shithouse.”
White House official told me tonight there is debate internally on whether Trump said "shithole" or "shithouse." Perdue and Cotton seem to have heard latter, this person said, and are using to deny.
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) January 15, 2018
Without citing a source Sunday, the National Review’s Rich Lowry said on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump “used a different — my understanding from the meeting, he used a different, but very closely related vulgarity. He said s-house, and not s-hole.”
“I don’t know that changing the word from ‘hole’ to ‘house’ changes the impact,” Durbin said. He said twice that he stood by his earlier assertion and that Trump did not say “shithouse.”
Durbin was the only Democrat at the meeting Thursday. Two conservative Republicans who also attended — Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) — initially said they “do not recall” whether Trump said what the Post reported, though they both claimed Sunday that he did not.
H/t USA Today.