President Trump on Thursday referred to African nations as "s***hole countries" during a meeting on immigration with a bipartisan group of senators, according to a Democratic aide and another person familiar with the conversation.
Trump made the comment during a discussion of U.S. visa and immigration policies inside the Oval Office. Trump was meeting with the senators to discuss a bipartisan plan to grant legal protections to the roughly 800,000 immigrants who are in the country illegally after being brought to the country as children. During the conversation Trump also questioned why the U.S would want to accept people from countries like Haiti and said the U.S. should want more people from countries like Norway, the aides said.
The comments were first reported by The Washington Post.
The senators had hoped to persuade Trump to support their plan, which pairs increased funding for border security with new legal status for immigrants who were previously protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. The White House rejected the plan and asked the senators to keep working on a new proposal.
The White House issued a statement rejecting "weak and dangerous stopgap measures" on immigration but did not deny Trump's remarks.
"The President will only accept an immigration deal that adequately addresses the visa lottery system and chain migration — two programs that hurt our economy and allow terrorists into our country," said deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah. "Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation."