President Trump addressed the "shithole" controversy Friday morning by appearing to deny using the word. "The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used," he tweeted. Unnamed sources told various news outlets that Trump used the word during an immigration meeting with lawmakers to describe El Salvador, Haiti, and African nations. In a subsequent tweet, he elaborated, though he didn't specifically address the controversial word. "Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country," he wrote. "Never said 'take them out.' Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!"
Trump directed most of his focus toward what he called an "outlandish proposal" in the meeting to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. In three earlier tweets, Trump said the DACA proposal "was a big step backwards." He complained that it would force the US "to take large numbers of people from high crime countries which are doing badly" and again called for a merit-based immigration system. "I want safety and security for our people. I want to stop the massive inflow of drugs." On Thursday, neither the White House nor GOP lawmakers present at the meeting denied that he had used the term, notes the AP. The White House has not immediately clarified whether Trump is explicitly denying use the phrase "shithole countries," notes the Washington Post.