President Donald Trump emphatically addressed the disparaging remarks denied, saying Haiti and other African countries were “s—hole countries,” adding that he is the “least racist person” reporters “have ever interviewed.”
Despite news reports and accounts from elected officials inside the room, the president pointed to two senators — Tom Cotton and David Perdue, both Republicans, who were also present — who maintained he hadn’t slurred Haiti and Africa.
“Did you see what various senators in the room said about my comments?” he asked reporters. “They weren’t made.”
Trump denied being racist, too.
“No, no, I’m not a racist,” he said. “I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. That I can tell you.”
The president’s remarks come after a weekend of non-stop criticism and calls for him to apologize. The remarks were reportedly made during a closed-door meeting with members of Congress to discuss immigration on Thursday.
The president, according to the reports, also said the United States should accept more immigrants from places like Norway.
Beyond his denial about the comments, Trump touched on topics ranging from DACA to North Korea.
He blamed Democrats for failing to reach a deal on DACA, the Obama-era policy that offers protection for children who were brought to the U.S. illegally.
“Honestly, I don’t think the Democrats want to make a deal,” he said. “I think they talk about DACA but they don’t want to help the DACA people.”
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He responded “I don’t know” when asked whether there would a government shutdown, but warned it would hurt the military, which he said is unacceptable.
On the false missile alert sent by Hawaiian officials, which triggered panic and confusion in the state, the president said he “love[s]that they took responsibility.”
“They took total responsibility. But we are going to get involved. Their attitude…I think it is terrific,” he said. “They took responsibility. They made a mistake.”
He added, “We hope it won’t happen again.”