President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wants immigrants coming in ‘from everywhere’ in response to questions about his alleged remarks challenging U.S. admittance of people from ‘shithole countries.’
“I want them to come in from everywhere,” Trump told reporters during a White House meeting with Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The remark came as reporters shouted questions about his reported statement last week that he’d prefer the United States welcome people from countries like Norway over nations like Haiti, El Salvador and African countries.
Trump has denied using any derogatory language to describe Haitians and said one Democratic lawmaker ‘totally misrepresented’ his remarks when he said Trump used ‘vile’ and ‘hate-filled’ language, including repeatedly referring to the foreign nations as ‘shitholes,’ during a bipartisan meeting with lawmakers on immigration Thursday. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Tuesday he stands by ‘every word’ of his statement on the matter.
Two Republican lawmakers in attendance have since disputed Durbin’s account after initially saying they could not recall whether Trump had made the derogatory remark.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to deny the reports on Tuesday, adding that the ‘president hasn’t said he didn’t use strong language. This is an important issue. He’s passionate about it,’ she told reporters.
Trump’s Tuesday remarks stand in contrast his own rhetoric and policy on immigration, with his administration aggressively seeking to curb the influx of immigrants from Latin America and from Muslim-majority countries.
Since entering office, the Trump administration has pursued several iterations of a travel ban that would restrict immigration from several Muslim-majority countries, an initiative that has been repeatedly shot down by federal courts.
Earlier Tuesday Trump called for additional security along the ‘very dangerous’ U.S.-Mexico border, writing that ‘we must have a great WALL to help protect us, and to help stop the massive inflow of drugs pouring into our country!’ During the 2016 presidential campaign Trump lamented that ‘we have some bad hombres’ cross the border into the U.S from Mexico.
When he announced his campaign bid in June 2015, Trump said Mexico ‘not sending their best’ into the U.S. in the current immigration system. ‘They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,’ Trump said.