Trump said the US should instead welcome more people from countries such as Norway. "The President and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel", he said, adding: "I've always believed that America is an idea, not defined by its people but by its ideals". Trump said at a White House meeting Tuesday that he would sign what Congress sent him and was leaving it up to lawmakers to hash out details.
Trump's reported comments drew similar protests from the 55-nation African Union, which called them "hurtful" and "clearly" racist, while the southern African state of Botswana hauled in the USA ambassador to complain.
One of the nation's largest political parties, the Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion Nacional (FMLN), also released a statement saying they were offended and aggravated by Trump's "racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Salvadoran and anti-American" language. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, who was in the meeting, said the reports were correct. "He said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly", Durbin added.
"Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a frequent Trump critic, said the president's comment "smacks of blatant racism, the most odious and insidious racism masquerading poorly as immigration policy".
Jeffress also said he was "grateful" to have Trump as president and thanked him for the "courage" to protect the U.S. "Do we need more Haitians?'" Durbin said.
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El Salvador's foreign ministry said the USA president had "implicitly" accepted the use of "harsh terms detrimental to the dignity of El Salvador and other countries".
Once it was clear by mid-afternoon on Thursday that Trump was not going to support the bipartisan deal, the group led by Durbin and Graham issued a terse statement.
Durbin added: "I can not imagine a moment where a president sunk to that depth, that's what breaks my heart".
In a tweet Friday morning, Trump distanced himself from the reports. The park's boundaries include the Prince Hall Masonic Temple, a site that King used as the headquarters for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, according to a White House spokesman.
"The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used", Trump tweeted early Friday, apparently referring to the remarks quoted by The Washington Post and The New York Times.
Winning Trump's endorsement, in turn, will depend on how lawmakers can navigate the whims of a president known for being volatile and demanding utmost loyalty. "I can't understand how someone goes from making a statement in Little Haiti saying "I want to be the biggest champion of Haiti" to calling Haiti a 'shithole.' It makes me sick". Since they are receiving American aid, they were slow to criticize the president's comment.
"These are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States", said Colville during a news briefing in Geneva.