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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — It’s the controversial comment heard around the world but did President Trump really say it? It depends on who you ask but you won’t get an answer from Rep. Mario Diaz Balart (R-Miami).
He was one of seven lawmakers at the closed-door immigration meeting where Mr. Trump asked why the U.S. should admit more immigrants from “s***hole countries” like Haiti, El Salvador and Africa.
Trump tweeted a denial Friday morning, “The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!”
llinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin pushed back saying Friday that Trump, “said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly.”
As for Miami’s Diaz-Balart, he is sidestepping the controversy and tweeted about DACA on Friday morning.
“For months, I have been involved in numerous high level bipartisan meetings negotiating DACA, including Thursday’s meeting at the White House. There are almost 800,000 young DACA beneficiaries who will face imminent deportation in March if we do not reach a deal. I will not be diverted from all possible efforts to continue negotiating to stop the deportations. Nothing will divert my focus to stop the deportation of these innocent people whose futures are at stake.”
Regarding yesterday’s meeting: pic.twitter.com/re0g0HrQCh
— Mario Diaz-Balart (@MarioDB) January 12, 2018
Senator Lindsey Graham also did not confirm or directly address the comment in his media statement but said he made his feelings known at the time.
“Following comments by the president, I said my piece directly to him yesterday,” Graham said. “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.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 12, 2018
Two Republican senators who attended the meeting, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, said they did not recall Trump making the comments.
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California and Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia were also in the meeting and neither has made any comments.
DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is the law that gave residency status to people who were brought to the country illegally. Trump and Congress are trying to resolve it after Trump ended the Obama-era program.