Sen. Pat Roberts called President Donald Trump’s reported vulgar description of some countries “regrettable” and lamented that it is dominating the news cycle.
“I’ve always tried to adhere to the policy that you don’t get hurt by what you don’t say, and I think that should apply here. It’s regrettable,” Roberts told reporters during an event in Topeka Friday.
He added that regardless of whether Trump used a vulgarity, “that kind of thing takes up all the news, which is what you’re doing now. I’m not – it is what it is. But we’re doing a lot of other things that are very positive. It is a very regrettable situation.”
On Thursday, Trump questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and “shithole countries” in Africa rather than places like Norway, as he rejected a bipartisan immigration deal, people briefed on the Oval Office conversation told the Associated Press.
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A deputy press secretary for Trump did not deny that he had made the comments.
Trump himself tweeted a vague denial on Friday.
“Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said ‘take them out.’ Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!” Trump said.
Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who was in the meeting with Trump, said the president “said these hate-filled things.”
Contributing: The Associated Press