President Donald Trump used vulgar language to disparage a number of countries Thursday after growing frustrated with the suggestion that the U.S. restore protections for immigrants from those states, The Washington Post reported.
Speaking with lawmakers in the Oval Office, the president pushed back against protections for people from Haiti, El Salvador and various African nations, demanding to know why America should accept newcomers from "s***hole countries," according to sources briefed on the meeting.
“Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?” Trump allegedly said, before suggesting the United States instead welcome immigrants from countries like Norway.
Trump met with the prime minister of Norway yesterday.
The impromptu Oval meeting was part of a bipartisan effort to reach a deal on immigration and resolve the uncertainty of those brought to the country illegally as children.
The president's comments left many of those involved in the negotiations "taken aback," the Post reported.
The deal on the table had involved restoring protections for immigrants previously removed from temporary protected status, as well as allotting $1.5 billion for a border wall and altering the visa lottery system.
It was this last component -- which would cut the program in question in half, but not eliminate it -- that sparked the vulgar remark, sources said.
Though the Post reports Trump had expressed interest in the deal earlier Tuesday, he was less than enthused during the meeting, which included Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill.
The White House declined to deny the episode, instead reiterating Trump's commitment to "permanent solutions that make our country stronger."
In a statement, spokesman Raj Shah said that while "certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries," Trump "will always fight for the American people."
"The president will only accept an immigration deal that adequately addresses the visa lottery system and chain migration – two programs that hurt our economy and allow terrorists into our country," Shah said. "Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.
"He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway.”