HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The president's profane description of Haiti and Africa drew instant rebuke Thursday, with several lawmakers calling on him to apologize.
In a meeting in the Oval Office, President Donald Trump questioned why the U.S. should permit more immigrants from "sh*thole countries" after senators discussed revamping rules affecting entrants from Africa and Haiti, three people briefed on the conversation told the Associated Press.
Trump made the remark as two lawmakers described details to him of a bipartisan compromise among six senators that would extend protections against deportation for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants and strengthen border protections.
Following news of the comments, several Congressional members called on him to apologize.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, took to Twitter on Thursday to condemn the president's remarks.
"I honestly cannot imagine the pain that those Oval Office comments are causing for immigrants and people of color everywhere," Schatz said, on the social media network. "That does not represent who we are as a country. I'm sorry, and we are fighting for you."
Asked about the remarks, White House spokesman Raj Shah did not deny them.
"Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people," he told AP.
Trump's remarks were remarkable even by the standards of a president who has been accused by his foes of racist attitudes and has routinely smashed through public decorum that his modern predecessors have generally embraced.
"Racist," tweeted U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-New York, after Thursday's story broke.
U.S. Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, called the president's behavior "unacceptable from the leader of our nation."
"My parents came from one of those countries but proudly took an oath of allegiance to the United States and took on the responsibilities of everything that being a citizen comes with," she said, in a statement that was posted online. "The president must apologize to both the American people and the nations he so wantonly maligned."