WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump referred to a group of nations that included African countries and Haiti as “shithole countries” during a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators on Thursday at the White House, a Democratic aide briefed on the meeting told NBC News.
Trump’s comments were first reported by the Washington Post, which said the group of nations referenced also included El Salvador.
The comments came as senators huddled in the Oval Office with the president to discuss the path forward on an immigration deal. Trump questioned why the United States would want people from nations such as Haiti, while being briefed on changes to the visa lottery system.
According to the aide, when the group came to discussing immigration from Africa Trump asked why we want all these people from “all these shithole countries” and that the U.S. should have more people from places like Norway.
The White House issued a statement that did not deny the remarks.
“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told NBC Thursday afternoon, part of a lengthy statement that did not directly dispute the language reportedly used in the meeting.
“He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway.”