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Trump Denies Using Racist Terms During Immigration Meeting

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WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) - The debate over immigration reform is being overshadowed by reports of presidential profanity in the Oval Office.

Several lawmakers have called President Donald Trump's remark "racist" and "reprehensible." This, as the president, today, will sign a declaration honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day.

Late Thursday afternoon, during an Oval Office meeting, lawmakers floated the idea of restoring Temporary Protected Status for some immigrants. Trump apparently grew frustrated and shocked lawmakers with his response.

"Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?" Trump asked.

Trump then suggested that the U.S. admit more people from countries like Norway.

Thursday night, Trump took to Twitter to defend his immigration priorities and denied using a racist term to describe immigrants from Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador.

Republicans and Democrats alike have condemned the president's remarks.

The Haitian government has summoned the top-ranking U.S. diplomat to explain the president's comment.

Friday morning, Trump took to Twitter to deny he said anything derogatory about Haiti.

Sen. Dick Durbin refuted Trump's tweeted denials that he used the phrase "s***hole countries" when discussing legal protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries. Durbin, who was in the meeting with the president when he made the remarks, said of Trump's denial, "It's not true. He said those hateful things, and he said them repeatedly."

Durbin said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham actually spoke up during the meeting and challenged the president's comments to his face. Durbin said that took incredible political courage and he respects him for it.

Graham released a statement which read in part:

"Following comments by the President, I said my piece directly to him yesterday. The President and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel. I've always believed that America is an idea, not defined by its people but by its ideals.

The American ideal is embraced by people all over the globe. It was best said a long time ago, E Pluribus Unum - Out of Many, One. Diversity has always been our strength, not our weakness."

The White House did not deny the president's reported remarks. A spokesperson released a statement that said in part, "Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people."

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