President Trump on Friday seemed to deny using the phrase "shithole countries" to describe poor nations, but a Democratic senator in the room insists the president used that and other "vile" phrases repeatedly in reference to nations such as Haiti and those in Africa. "He said things that were hate-filled, vile, and racist," said Dick Durbin of Illinois, per MSNBC. "I use those words advisedly," Durbin added. "I understand how powerful they are." Durbin said he can't believe that any previous president "has ever spoken the words that I personally heard." Durbin addressed reporters after Trump tweeted that "the language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used," an apparent reference to the widespread coverage of the "shithole" controversy.
Durbin says that denial isn't true. "He said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly." Durbin quoted Trump as asking, "Do we need more Haitians?" during a discussion of Haiti, and he said the president used the term "shitholes" when discussing immigration from Africa. In his morning tweets, Trump made clear that he wants the US to shift to more of a merit-based immigration system.