A report has emerged that in private, Donald Trump is defended his remarks about Haitians and African countries
President Donald Trump has privately defended his remarks disparaging Haitians and African countries, saying he was only expressing what many people think but won't say about immigrants from economically depressed countries.
That's according to a person who spoke to the president as criticism of his comments ricocheted around the globe.
Trump spent Thursday evening making a flurry of calls to friends and outside advisers to judge their reaction to the tempest, said the confidant, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to disclose a private conversation.
Trump wasn't apologetic about his inflammatory remarks and denied he was racist, instead, blaming the media for distorting his meaning, the confidant said.
During a bipartisan Oval Office immigration meeting Thursday, Trump questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and 's***hole countries' in Africa.
Critics of the president, including some Republicans, spent Friday blasting the vulgar comments he made behind closed doors.
Trump has reportedly claimed that he is simply saying what people think but might be too afraid to say
Trump, pictured after signing a proclamation to honor Martin Luther King Jr day, has blamed the media for distorting his meaning, according to a source speaking to the Associated Press
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he 'said my piece' to Donald Trump after the president's comments about Africa and Haiti that have stirred such controversy. But Graham isn't confirming exactly what Trump said.
In a statement Friday, the South Carolina lawmaker said: 'Following comments by the president, I said my piece directly to him.' Graham also said diversity is 'our strength, not our weakness'.
Graham released his statement a day after an Oval Office immigration meeting at which Trump referred to African nations with a vulgar term.
Trump's words have prompted an uproar and were relayed by Democratic Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois - who was at the session - and three others familiar with the meeting.
Durbin said he was the only Democrat among 12 people at Thursday's meeting, where he said Trump 'repeatedly' used the term 's***hole' to describe African countries.
He said Graham 'spoke up' and told Trump his own family's story of coming to the U.S.
Durbin also repeated his earlier account that Trump said the U.S. doesn't need more people from Haiti. He said he told Trump if he singled out Haitians it was 'clearly a racial decision'.
Trump said he did not denigrate Haitians.
Lindsey Graham attended the meeting where multiple people said Trump 'repeatedly' used the term 's***hole' to describe African countries. Graham, per reports, 'spoke up' against Trump when he uttered the phrase
Senator Dick Durbin said he was the only Democrat at the meeting where Trump uttered the offensive phrases
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan referred to Trump's comments as 'very unfortunate, unhelpful'
Two Republicans who were in the Oval Office with President Donald Trump say they 'do not recall' him talking about 's***hole' countries in Africa.
Georgia Senator David Perdue and Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton issued a joint statement Friday.
They said: 'We do not recall the president saying these comments specifically.'
They added: 'But what he did call out was the imbalance in our current immigration system, which does not protect American workers.'
Trump's slur came as pro-immigration senators tried to pitch Trump on a deal to protect younger immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.
The president said 'this was not the language used' after reports that he referred to 's***hole' African nations in a meeting.
The president tweeted Friday amid criticism over his comments during a White House meeting .
Trump said Friday: 'The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made - a big setback for DACA!'
The president said a bipartisan immigration proposal is 'a big step backwards'. He tweets that it would force the U.S. 'to take large numbers of people from high crime countries which are doing badly'.
Trump said the 'so-called bipartisan' deal 'was a big step backwards' because it doesn't fund a wall along the Mexican border.
He added: 'I want a merit based system of immigration and people who will help take our country to the next level. I want safety and security for our people. I want to stop the massive inflow of drugs.'
Donald Trump and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg speak on January 10
People walk together in Miami, Florida on January 12 to mark the 8th anniversary of the massive earthquake in Haiti and to condemn Trump's statements
Jocelyne Pierre (center) participates in the commemoration in Miami
The chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee said they plan to introduce a censure resolution against President Donald Trump over his 'bigoted fear mongering' about Haiti and Africa.
Democratic Representatives Cedric Richmond of Louisiana and Jerrold Nadler of New York said they were deeply troubled by Trump's comments referring to African nations as 's***hole' countries during an Oval Office meeting on immigration.
Senator John McCain, meanwhile, said all elected officials, including the president, must respect that people from all over the world have 'made America great'.
McCain said respecting all people 'is the essence of American patriotism'. He said rejecting that 'is to oppose the very idea of America'.
He did not specifically mention Trump or the profanity he used. He did employ a variant of Trump's campaign theme, 'Make America Great Again'.
Trump's vulgarity was described by Democratic Senator Richard Durbin, who attended the White House meeting, and three others briefed on the session.
McCain is in Arizona being treated for brain cancer.
This January 9 photo shows, from left to right, Dick Durbin, Trump and Steny Hoyer (a Maryland Democrat) during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy
House Speaker Paul Ryan said that President Donald Trump's vulgar slur about Africa was 'very unfortunate, unhelpful'.
The State Department said American diplomats will have to work 'extra hard' to send the message that the United States cares about other countries after Trump's comment.
Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein said it's Trump's right to 'make whatever remark he chooses.' He said that's the benefit of being president.
But Goldstein said U.S. diplomats have an obligation to represent the U.S. throughout the world. He said Trump's remarks don't 'change what we do'.
Goldstein said the State Department is advising U.S. ambassadors to 'primarily listen' if summoned to explain Trump's comments to foreign leaders.
He said they'll tell foreign countries that the U.S. commitment to their nations 'hasn't wavered' and that the United States is honored to have diplomatic representation there.