Jan 12, 2018, 1:58 PM ET

Trump denies saying 'anything derogatory about Haitians' after 's---hole countries' remark


In the wake of a firestorm sparked by President Donald Trump's comments on Thursday slamming immigrants from 's---hole' countries, the president weighed in on Twitter denying he used "derogatory" language about Haitians at an Oval Office meeting on immigration.

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"Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor troubled country," Trump said on Twitter. "Never said "take them out"."

Trump, however, did not deny accounts from multiple sources either briefed on or familiar with the discussion, who told ABC News the president's comments extended to African countries as well.

The president went on to accuse Democrats in the meeting of making up comments attributed to him and said that he “probably should record future meetings.”

In an earlier tweet on Friday, Trump acknowledged he used "tough" language, although it was unclear to what language he was referring to.

"The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used," Trump tweeted today of Thursday’s meeting about a proposed bipartisan immigration plan.

Further, the president has not denied that he suggested in the meeting on Thursday that America should admit more immigrants from places like Norway, comments that were confirmed by multiple sources with direct knowledge of the conversations.

Roughly 15 hours since the comments were first reported, White House aides appeared unperturbed by the controversial remarks, arguing they could help the president despite the backlash across both sides of the aisle.

A White House official told ABC News the president's comments echo his "America first" policy.

“I don't think anyone is worried about it,” the official said. “I haven't seen or heard anyone worried about it. In this instance, our statement reflects our thinking here. America First."

Assistant to the president Mercedes Schlapp said Friday there have been “selective leaks” and “inaccurate reporting” but would not clarify further what exactly the president was denying in his morning tweets.

“The language was not used and it is very clear that this is the Democrats trying to derail this process,” Schlapp said, referring to the talks on DACA and the president’s border wall.

Schlapp did not explicitly say whether the president wants to deny immigrants based on the status of their country of origin.

“It's very clear that we want immigrants to come to this country regardless of their background -- in terms of making sure that we focus in on what their skills are and what they can contribute to the economy,” Schlapp said.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., in an interview with reporters in Chicago outside of a Martin Luther King Jr. prayer breakfast on Friday described what he said he witnessed during a bipartisan meeting at the White House on immigration on Thursday.

Durbin said the president questioned, "do we need more Haitians?" during conversation about temporary protected status for people from Haiti and El Salvador among other nations.

"Then he went on and started to describe the immigration from Africa that was being protected in this bipartisan measure. That's when he used these vile and vulgar comments, calling the nations they come from s---holes," Durbin told reporters. "The exact word used by the president. Not just once but repeatedly. That was the nature of this conversation."

Asked about the controversy while at an event in Wisconsin on Friday, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the first thing that came to his mind when he heard reports of the president's remarks was that they were "very unfortunate, unhelpful." Ryan added that he thought of his own family's migration from Ireland.

Trump's latest tweets came hours before the president was slated to sign a proclamation to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and on a day in which Haiti recognizes a moment of silence for those who died eight years ago in a devastating earthquake.

His comments also come on the heels of a week filled with tense back and forth over immigration reform policy.

According to multiple sources either briefed on or familiar with the discussion, the president during the bipartisan meeting at the White House on Thursday, grew frustrated that the proposal would scale back the visa lottery program, but not eliminate it, asking those in the room why they would want people from Haiti, Africa and other "s---hole countries" coming into the United States.

Trump's Friday morning tweets also criticized the "so-called" bipartisan DACA deal that was presented to him and a group of Republican congressional leaders as a "big step backwards."

"Wall was not properly funded, Chain & lottery were made worse and USA would be forced to take large numbers of people from high crime," he tweeted.

Trump insisted he wants a merit-based immigration system to ensure the United States gets people who will "help take our country to the next level."

"I want safety and security for our people. I want to stop the massive inflow of drugs. I want to fund our military," Trump said.

Earlier this week, a federal district judge in California issued a preliminary injunction against the Trump administration’s efforts to end DACA, an Obama administration-era program that helps protect the roughly 800,000 so-called dreamers from deportation. It is a ruling supporters have deemed a step in the right direction.

In the latest ABC News/Washington Post survey, in November, 50 percent of Americans saw Trump as “biased against black people,” while 42 percent did not. Among blacks themselves, 73 percent saw him as biased, as did 70 percent of Hispanics, vs. 40 percent of whites.

ABC News' Alexander Mallin and Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.

News - Trump denies saying 'anything derogatory about Haitians' after 's---hole countries' remark

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  • BoHica

    But it is.... Are you mad at FACTS?!?!

  • Richard Griffin

    Of course Trump denies saying those words. This what this guy does. He has made statements on TV and later denied he said it. The people that support Trump are apparently willing to lie to protect him. It should be a simple matter of reviewing the minutes of the meeting to clear this up and expose the people who are lying. Its not rocket science, review the minutes....Geeeesh

  • Thomas

    I agree with Trump.
    Every meeting with Trump needs to be recorded

    It is the only way we can keep track of his honesty/dishonesty.

  • concernedvoter

    The President of the USA has to be above Racism and Biggotry and using divisive vulgar comments and working with Hostile foreign Powers like Russia against US interests.

  • Nearl45 5

    Besides, he meant those comments as compliments.

    He really loves all Haitian’s. Being them all here!!

    It’s those damned Dominican Republicans he wants less of.

    Yeah. That’s it.

  • paul miller

    Is Bozo out of his crib yet to start another day of mischief that he will deny but most likely wont remember because of the cerebral disease that is slowly consuming whatever is left inside of that basketball sized cranium. America and the World are witnessing the transition of a meat head into a vegetable head. HIs body has begun its final stages of transformation in to various other vegetables, hairs like silk from corn cobs before being husked, body color in the hue of carrots, hands like pea pods and skin as thick as onion skin

  • Ideology

    Trump doesn’t even know wher Haiti is.

  • Michael McCall

    Aren't these presidential meetings already recorded?

  • francois l'éclair

    Donald says he never said anything derogatory about Haitians, but he is the same man who was fined 20 million for ripping people off at Trump "University".

  • Bud Simpson

    I'm sure he's going to record future meetings, sarcasm intended. The last thing Trump wants is an accurate record of what he says. He's had video, and recordings, of his comments expose his incessant lying in the past. If he does record meetings in the future, I'm sure they'll be immediately edited by Whitehouse staff ASAP.

    Trump isn't just an embarrassment to the USA, he's an embarrassment to humanity.

  • paul miller

    where is the Idiot and Chump this weekend

  • Mikhail

    Last time he gave a fake apology, this time he dons the white robe.

  • Denormalizing BadBehavior

    What a horrific example to the World....our foul mouthed liar.

  • Dukedaddy

    It's easy to figure out Trump.
    If he takes credit for something, it's a lie.
    If he denies something, it's the truth.

  • Truth-B-Me

    This fake president is a compulsive liar and it doesn't bother him nor his Republican supporters. Bring on the elections of 2018 and while we wait, please Mr. Mueller do something to rid us of this president.

  • Karolyn Lapka

    His arrogant dismissal of these disrepectful comments just makes my skin crawl.

  • mollydtt

    “He denies it! He totally denies it! He denies it!” Problem solved, says the GOP.

    And the GOP is going to protect their leader and lie for him as much as they can, which is A LOT, and it will get worse.

    Trump (and the GOP) will behave as badly as we let them.

  • Art Hegewald

    Trump said it then lied about saying it. Nothing new here.

  • Ctrygrl

    It is just the sheer stupidity of the statement itself, never mind it being politically inept or offensive. We get people from these countries because if you live in a really nice country like Norway, you don't want to come here.

  • Efrain Sigifredo

    Putin didn't need his missiles to bring America to its knees in shame; he just needed the man he put in the White House: Donald Trump.

  • okiejoe

    Well, Trump doesn't think what he said was 'derogatory.'

  • KJK

    The Don's physical health may be 'excellent', but the mental health is obvious not so good. I feel sorry for his children who must be so sad their father is the way he is. They need to have an intervention with him ASAP, before he goes off the deep end and melts down in full public view. His childlike behavior and foul mouth are pathetic.

  • Bamsterman

    You now have two senators who say Trump did not say those words. So why did Dick Durbin lie?

  • mikevietvet68/69

    since ABC is the last junta media outlet in the u.s. who allows you to comment but the hastily removes your comments,i would like to say you will never silence the resolve of us by taking us down cause telephones have not been banned by this faux govt.we will continue to fight the potus at the polls.

  • jake

    Trump should record his meetings from now on as he suggested he should. It would hasten his impeachment.

  • ROB-1.

    I think Trump forgets what he says from one minute to the next.

  • LewTwo

    ""Never said anything derogatory about Haitians ...." per the proven and consistent liar.

    He is too 'unstable' to remember what he said.

  • Brad

    The point isn't in whether or not his statement is or isn't factually correct in some ways. The point is that the President should be more dignified and respectful of other countries and their people than to say that. The man knows nothing about humility and respect. He is not a good person and is an embarrassing President.

  • SeattleWashOne

    Trump is the sh**hole, not Africa and Haiti.

  • Viviane G. Martin

    I keep wondering about that 35% or so of voters who currently support this lunatic, WHY do they support him? I find there's two likely reasons: 1) They are in his payroll and are scumbag useless leeches, they get paid to be yes men/women and 2) They are brain-dead and should be interned in a mental hospital along with their fake-haired friend.

  • will Russell

    As we say to the grandkids, don't have a potty mouth. If Trump can't exercise the restraint any child can exercise, he needs to leave and leave now.

  • Discrimination is not a right.

    He sure seemed to be implying something derogatory.