CHICAGO -- President Trump’s comments referring to immigrant nations as “shithole countries” were a hot topic at Chicago’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. interfaith breakfast.
Although the president tweeted this morning he did not use the language attributed to him, Senator Durbin told WGN’S Judy Wang those words were used by the president, more than once.
Durbin said that during the meeting, Trump did make "hate-filled, vile and racist" comments. He also said that Trump questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and that he referenced "shithole countries" in Africa.
Durbin said "shitholes" was "the exact word used by the president not just once but repeatedly."
Durbin added, "When the question was asked about Haitians ... he said, 'Hatians? Do we need more Hatians?'"
He went on to say, “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 our president speak yesterday." And added, "You’ve seen the comments in the press. I’ve not read one of them that’s inaccurate.”
Outrage over the president’s comments is pouring in.
“Haiti was our ally in the Revolutionary War,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson. “America’s original wealth came from Africa. The trading industry. Trading people.”
Toni Preckwinkle said, “This is appalling. I don’t know how to describe it any other way.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel pointed out to the breakfast crowd that Chicago was founded by a Haitian, one of the countries singled out and insulted by the president
“It’s language unbecoming of a president,” said State Sen. Kwame Raoul whose parents hail from Haiti.
“I don’t call for an apology. You cannot apologize for this,” he said. “There’s not apologizing out of this. It’s offensive and it’s the last thing we need. We’ve heard language from this president demeaning women, promoting Neo-Nazi’s. When is enough enough?”
Durbin says he’s reaching out to members of congress from both parties in hopes the comments will be a rallying point that brings people together on the immigration issue. He hopes to propose a new way to reform the DACA program next week.