Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Friday he spoke ‘directly’ to President Trump inside the Oval Office after he reportedly used a crude slur to describe to ‘s***hole countries’ from Africa.
Graham said he pushed back at the president – an account that was backed up by Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois – after Trump reportedly made the comment at an Oval Office meeting, where he was also is claimed to have said disparaging things about Haitian immigrants.
‘Following comments by the President, I said my piece directly to him yesterday,’ Graham said in a statement. ‘The President and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel. I’ve always believed that America is an idea, not defined by its people but by its ideals.’
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina says he spoke ‘directly’ to President Trump at an Oval Office meeting on Thursday where Trump is reported to have railed against taking immigrants from ‘s***hole countries’ in Africa. he appeared on The View on Monday
Rebuke: Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House and after Trump and Mike Pence, the third-most powerful Republican. rebuked the president for the words calling them ‘very unfortunate’ and ‘unhelpful’. He was taking questions in Milwaukee from Wispolitics.com president Jeff Mayers
He did not say specifically what Trump said that caused him to respond, but his defense of American values make clear that the gist was Trump’s stunning comments that drew wall-to-wall media coverage Friday.
Graham continued: ‘The American ideal is embraced by people all over the globe. It was best said a long time ago, E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One. Diversity has always been our strength, not our weakness. In reforming immigration we cannot lose these American Ideals.’
His comment clashed with a statement by two other Republican participants Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA).
The two men said they ‘do not recall the President saying those comments specifically’ but also didn’t deny he said them.
President Donald Trump greets Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., second from left, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, right, as they meet to discuss immigration in the Roosevelt Room in the White House, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in Washington. During another meeting the following week the president is said to have gone after ‘s***hole countries’
Durbin praised Graham for being willing to confront the president over remarks roundly criticized as crude or racist on Friday – a term used by Hillary Clinton.
‘My colleague, Republican senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, spoke up and made a direct comment on what the president said,’ Durbin said in the Capitol, CNN reported.
‘I was very proud of him. It took courage for what he did. And I made my own comments in response to it but for him to confront the president as he did literally sitting next to him took extraordinary political courage and I respect him for it.’
Graham continued in his statement: ‘The American people will ultimately judge us on the outcome we achieve, not the process which led to it.’
‘I know the bipartisan proposal discussed at the White House can get a lot of support from both sides. As always, I look forward to considering additional ideas that could make the proposal even better,’ he said.
United States Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois says Trump ‘said things that were hate-filled, vile and racist’ at the Oval Office meeting
Graham also expressed support for Durbin.
‘I appreciate Senator Durbin’s statements and have enjoyed working with him and many others on this important issue. I believe it is vitally important to come to a bipartisan solution to the immigration and border challenges we face today. I am committed to working with Republicans and Democrats to find common ground so we can move forward.’
Trump himself denied making the comment, but in vague terms, on Twitter. ‘The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,’ he said.
Trump also reportedly said: ‘Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out,’ though he denies speaking disparagingly about Haitians.
Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House and after Trump and Mike Pence, the third-most powerful Republican. rebuked the president for the words calling them ‘very unfortunate’ and ‘unhelpful’.
Ryan said his ancestors were Irish and ‘were really looked down upon.’ He called immigration ‘a beautiful story of America ‘ and said Africans in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, are ‘incredible citizens.’
Ryan made his remark Friday at a public forum at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.