Two Republican senators who hastily joined an immigration meeting at the White House this week said Friday they do not recall President Trump using vulgar language to describe countries in Africa and elsewhere.
Durbin said Graham immediately spoke up against Trump's comments, and he commended the Republican senator for doing so.
"I've always believed that America is an idea, not defined by its people but by its ideals", his statement concluded.
Perdue, a Georgia Republican, attended the meeting last Thursday with other GOP and Democratic lawmakers seeking to hammer out a deal on immigration when Trump reportedly wondered out loud why the United States accepts immigrants from "shithole countries", referring to Africa, Haiti and El Salvador.
The remark, which Trump denied making Friday, prompted domestic and global backlash.
"We have been working for four months and have reached an agreement in principle" that addresses the main policies Trump sought, they said.
During several interviews on Sunday, Republican senators blasted Sen. But in a joint statement, both Cotton and Perdue said they "do not recall" Trump making the inflammatory comment.
"I'm encouraged. I mean, first of all, we have a bipartisan recommendation, a bipartisan legislation, that's been worked on, worked out after they sat down last week with the president".
A source familiar with the meeting told CNN's Jake Tapper the President did not refer to Haiti as a "shithole" country but Trump did ask why the United States needs more Haitians and pushed to "take them out" of the deal.
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Stephanopoulos repeatedly tried to have Perdue clarify what he meant and asked point-blank if Trump did not in fact say the crass word during the meeting.
"I didn't hear that word", Cotton insisted.
Separately, Durbin told reporters he had not seen a single news report about the President's words that was false.
Trump on Thursday rejected a pitch from a bipartisan team of senators on a compromise immigration deal to protect DACA participants while increasing border security. Trump told senators in the Oval Office, according to a source briefed on the meeting, the comments from which were first reported by The Washington Post. The Dems will threaten 'shutdown, ' but what they are really doing is shutting down our military, at a time we need it most.
Trump "has taken our issues off the back burner and thrust them into the spotlight", said Roy Beck, executive director at Numbers USA, which argues for reducing immigration to midcentury levels, before passage of the 1965 immigration overhaul ushered in a new era of migrants.
Given Trump's record with the truth, we find Durbin more believable in this case.
Durbin's communications director tweeted a response to Perdue's apparent questioning of the credibility of the IL senator's account of what Trump said.
Georgia's other Republican senator, Johnny Isakson, was not at the meeting.
Perdue and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., were both present at the negotiations on reforming the immigration system.