"President Donald Trump denied he is a racist Sunday, three days after he reportedly referred to immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and Africa as coming from "s--hole" countries".
When Mr Durbin was challenged about his version of what term Mr Trump used, the IL senator said: "I stand by every word I said about what was said". The official said that although this might enrage Washington, staffers predicted the comment would resonate with Trump's base, similarly to how Trump's attacks on NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem did.
Quotes from the private conversation were leaked last week, provoking a fierce backlash from shocked world leaders. Trump told reporters Sunday at the White House: "No, no, I'm not a racist", He added: "I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you". "This is an important issue, he's passionate about it, he's not going to apologize for trying to fix our immigration system".
As votes for government funding look perilous in Congress, bipartisan senators behind an immigration deal are furiously working behind the scenes to build support for their bill, hoping it could be in play to avert a shutdown.
The path to a deal seems even more complicated after last week's coarse Oval Office conversation, and Mr Trump has accused Mr Durbin of undermining the trust necessary to reach an agreement.
U.S. government shuts down over immigration impasse
It would, though, mean furloughs for some federal employees - including some civilian defense workers. The government of then President Barack Obama was last shut for more than two weeks in October 2013.
Trump's demands for a DACA deal appeared relatively clear: protect DACA recipients; end "chain migration;" get rid of the visa lottery; fund the wall.
They were allowed to apply for deferral from deportation under an Obama-era program known as DACA, but Trump past year moved to phase out the protection, kicking the sensitive issue to Congress for a solution.
During his portion of questioning at the hearing, Graham said in reference to the immigration fight, "This has turned into a "s-show" and we need to get back to being a great country". He was speaking about the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals program, which helps young undocumented immigrants seeking protection from deportation. Perhaps lawmakers should insist that all their interactions with the president be recorded so as to prevent more incidents such as this in the future.
Graham has not disputed Durbin's account.
The incident is telling in many respects, but none more important for Republicans than this: They can lie and enable the president hoping to score brownie points, but this White House won't repay loyalty in kind.
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"Poor people do not leave their countries because of wanderlust: They leave because life feels pretty 's***ty, ' " she wrote.
"I know what happened", Durbin said.
Instead, they have instead maintained an eloquent silence, an option that the sycophantic Perdue should have taken as well.
I think Eric Trump actually hit it on the head. Some Republicans who were in the room for the meeting say the president never uttered the words that are making some call him racist. "That's when he used these vile and vulgar comments, calling the nations they come from 'shitholes, '" Durbin told reporters.
The White House said Trump had no intention of apologizing.
Trump Says He Wants Immigrants From 'Everywhere'
What the presidential physician who is treating Trump now may lack in colorful comments, he makes up for with a stacked resume. He added, "We got to find a way to work on this man's heart". "I don't think the president was well served by his staff".
He doesn't care if people get kicked off their health insurance, he doesn't care if we slash Social Security, and Medicare, and Medicaid. But Trump voters, who enthusiastically agreed when he slammed the football protests, were somewhat less supportive of the alleged "shithole countries" remark: Sixty-two percent agreed with the statement, but only about one-third did so strongly, and 23 percent disagreed. Lemire reported from NY.