In an extraordinary Oval Office exchange, U.S. President Donald Trump used profane language to disparage African nations in a meeting with lawmakers about a proposed bipartisan deal on immigration.
That’s according to three people briefed on the meeting held Thursday.
Trump reportedly questioned why the U.S. would want to admit more people from “shithole countries.” The comment came during a discussion on a deal to protect hundreds of thousands of young people from deportation. Trump rejected the deal.
The sources say Trump said the U.S. should allow more immigrants from places like Norway.
For its part, the White House is not denying that Trump used profanity in referring to African nations during the meeting.
Trump made the remark after Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois told Trump that under the proposal, a lottery for visas would be ended. Durbin said that in exchange, people from African countries that have benefited from that lottery would be given other access to visas.
The three people spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the Oval Office meeting.
White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement that while “Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries,” Trump “will always fight for the American people.”
He said Trump wants to welcome immigrants who “contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation,” and will always reject “temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures” that he said “threaten the lives of hardworking Americans” and undercut other immigrants.