Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of the lawmakers in attendance at the Thursday meeting during which President Donald Trump referred to African countries as “shithole countries,” said Friday afternoon that he said his “piece” to the President following the comments.
Graham’s statement did not confirm that Trump used the phrase “shithole countries,” but it did not deny that either, and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) already said that Graham confirmed the comments to him privately.
“Following comments by the President, I said my piece 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,” Graham said in the statement. “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.”
Though Graham did not directly confirm Trump’s remarks, his statement noting that he stood up to the President differs from a statement issued by other Republicans in the room. Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) claimed that they did “not recall” Trump using the phrase “shithole countries.”
Graham also thanked Durbin, who worked with Graham on a deal to restore the protections in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and who also told reporters Friday morning that Graham confronted Trump during the Thursday meeting over his remarks.
“I appreciate Senator Durbin’s statements and have enjoyed working with him and many others on this important issue,” Graham said in the statement. “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 so we can move forward.”