Durbin confirms Trump 's***hole' remark, says language was 'hate-filled, vile and racist'

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President Donald Trump fired back Friday against reports he used vulgar language to describe African countries. (WLS)

President Donald Trump fired back Friday against reports he used vulgar language to describe African countries.

Senator Dick Durbin said Friday he witnessed what happened at a meeting with the president regarding a bipartisan compromise on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and confirmed the president used that language repeatedly.

According to those briefed on the conversation, the president used the phrase "s***hole countries" while questioning why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and nations in Africa, rather than places like Norway.

Trump tweeted Friday morning: "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 White House has not denied the language, nor have the several Republican lawmakers in the meeting.

Trump's words sent shockwaves through the political world. Many leaders, including Durbin, gathered Friday morning for Chicago's 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Breakfast were quick to respond, denouncing the president.

"As Sen. (Lindsey) Graham made his presentation, the president interrupted him several times with questions and in the course of his comments, said things which were hate-filled, vile and racist.

"I use those words advisedly. I understand how powerful they are. But I cannot believe that in the history of the White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard the president speak yesterday.

"You have seen the comments in the press. I have not read one of them that's inaccurate. To no surprise, the president started tweeting this morning, denying that he used those words. It is not true. He said these hateful things and he said them repeatedly.

"When the question was raised about Haitians, for example, we have a group that have temporary protected status in the United States because they were the victims of crises and disasters and political upheaval.

"The largest group's El Salvadoran, the second is Honduran and the third is Haitian. When I mentioned that fact to him, he said, 'Haitians? Do we need more Haitians?'

"Then he went on and he started to describe the immigration from Africa that was being protected in this bipartisan measure. That's when he used these vile and vulgar comments, calling the nations they come from, 's***holes.' The exact word used by the president - not just once, but repeatedly. That was the nature of this conversation.

"When it came to the issue of 'chain migration,' I said to the president, 'Do you realize how painful that term is to so many people?' African Americans believe that they migrated to America in chains. When you speak about chain migration, it hurts them personally.

"He said, 'Oh, that's a good line.'

"When I talked to him about the impact this has on family unification, in a nation that values families with the flag as the most important symbols of our future, they scoffed at this notion. It was a heartbreaking moment," Durbin said.

Immigrants call Trump's comments racist, embarrassing and misinformed

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"It's a country that was founded by immigrants, it is a country that has been strengthened by immigrants, including Africans," Okedi said.

It has been 18 years since Daniel Dezir left Haiti to pursue an art scholarship in the United States. Afterward, Dezir decided to stay and build a life with his wife, Patricia. They own Chicago's only Haitian restaurant, Kizin Creole Restaurant.

"My wife went to school, I went to school, I have a bachelor's in business administration, she is a personal chef," said Dezir.

Dezir said contrary to what Trump may believe, America is full of hard-working, productive Haitians.

"Every Haitian I know coming to the U.S. is coming here because they are looking for an opportunity," said Dezir.

Educational opportunities are what brought Freddy Okedi, a lawyer, to Chicago five years ago from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Okedi works for the Pan-African Association, helping other African immigrants and refugees find employment.

"They do the work maybe you and I wouldn't do," said Okedi. "But they are hard workers, they are people who put their heart in their jobs."

Okedi said many of the people the Pan-African Association serve had professional careers in Africa, but fled to the U.S. for safety reasons. Outraged by Trump's comments, Okedi said the president doesn't understand the contributions made by immigrants.

"It's a country that was founded by immigrants, it is a country that has been strengthened by immigrants, including Africans," Okedi said.

Illinois politicians describe Trump's words as vile, divisive, shameful

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Friday that at a time when the values that Dr. King fought for are under attack, we need to do more than just remember his message.

"He has no credibility to deny anymore these type off divisive, racist statements. There's no need to tip-toe around what they are. They're racist, vile. They're divisive. They're the last thing we need in this country right now," said State Sen. Kwame Raoul, (D) Chicago.

"All Americans should be ashamed of what the president has said. The world is ashamed of what our president has said. It was racist. It was inappropriate. It was crude and loathsome," Rep. Jan Shakowsky (D) said.

"What President Trump said is a source of shame for our nation. Humiliating for Africans and African-American people," Rev. Jesse Jackson said.

"Last night, Republican senators said they were embarrassed by what the president said and they wanted to be more visible in their support of our bi-partisan effort. I am hoping that others will join them," Durbin said.

Durbin said he will be preparing a bipartisan measure on immigration reform and will present it to the Senate next week. It's aimed at, among many things, protecting DACA recipients.

When asked why he didn't speak up right away about what the president said, Durbin said he didn't want to make headlines. His focus was on getting a Dream Act passed.

U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), released this statement Friday:

"It is disgusting and infuriating that the President remarks about immigration from 's***hole countries' like Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries come on the 8th anniversary of the Haitian earthquake in which more than 200,000 people were killed. Is the President not aware that immigrants of all races, nationalities, and religions built this country? These comments not only highlight his pure ignorance, moral turpitude, and lack of judgment but his racism that has been a fixture of his career, campaign, and presidency. This is the same person who started his career being sued twice by the Department of Justice for racial discrimination because he would not rent apartments to African-Americans. This is the same person who launched the racist birther movement against the country's first African-American President, casting doubt on Barack Obama's birthplace. This is the same person who began his Presidential campaign calling Mexican immigrants rapists, murderers, and criminals. The President of the United States is racist. On the weekend where we should be honoring the spirit and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., who fought for racial equality, we have a President intent on dividing this country. Everyone should condemn the racist remarks made by the President, especially those who were present in the meeting. Their silence is deafening. I commend Senator Dick Durbin for giving truth power. We cannot continue to let this dangerous President erode this country's reputation. We must stand up for our nation's values because it is clear President Trump will not."

JB Pritzker, a Democrat running for Illinois governor, released this statement Friday:

"I've said it before and I'll say it again: Donald Trump is a racist and a xenophobe who has never had the dignity to be in the White House," said JB Pritzker. "After unilaterally moving to end DACA and upend the lives of 800,000 young immigrants, including more than 41,000 in Illinois, Trump is resorting to offensive tactics to score a political win with his base. First, he insisted his senseless wall be part of an immigration deal and now Trump is spouting vile profanities about Haitian and African immigrants from the Oval Office. America deserves better, and when I'm governor, I'll protect immigrant families and make Illinois a welcoming state for all."

Attorney General candidate Jesse Ruiz released this statement Friday:

"In 2015, Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign by saying, 'When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best.... They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists.' Ever since that day, Trump has been displaying his racist attitudes like a badge of honor. It seems like the only words that can come out of Trump's mouth are vile hate or lies. His despicable remarks about 's***hole' countries are simply the latest in a long and ugly string of insults, epithets, and attacks. Instead of begging for forgiveness from the American public, he lies like a coward. He should resign or be removed from office. We must not let Trump's contemptible words distract us from his even more deplorable actions. Trump made this remark while talking with members of Congress about immigrants living here under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. The TPS program has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but it is clear that the lives of people of color do not matter to Trump. Today, members of Congress from both parties are denouncing Trump's disgusting words. That's important, but it's even more important to make sure that Trump's vile attitudes do not destroy the lives of law-abiding immigrants from countries that have suffered catastrophic events. I call on Congress to move immediately to pass the SECURE Act, to continue the protections of the TPS program and create pathway to legal permanent residency in America, and to pass a clean DREAM act, to fix DACA and protect the futures of 800,000 promising young immigrants. I hope Trump is out of office by next January, when I take office as Illinois Attorney General. If not, I look forward to standing up to the White House, holding Trump accountable, and taking him to court to protect the rights of everyone."

Trump signs MLK Day proclamation

Later Friday morning, Trump signed a proclamation commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The president said Dr. King's his words and his vision only grow stronger through time.

"That is what Reverend King preached all of his life. Love. Love for each other, for neighbors and for our fellow Americans. Dr. King's faith and his love for humanity led him and so many other heroes to courageously stand up for civil rights of African Americans," Trump said.

Friday's proclamation made the day a federal holiday, encouraging Americans to take part in civic works honoring Dr. King. Trump did not talk about the comments he made Thursday.

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