CHICAGO (CBS) — President Trump escalated a political fight over immigration on Monday, accusing Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin of misrepresenting comments the president made at a White House meeting last week.
In his tweet, Trump implied that Durbin’s public statements after the meeting have ruined any chance of a deal to protect young immigrants known as “Dreamers” from deportation. Trump said there can be no deal because there is no trust.
Durbin’s spokesman, Ben Marter, tweeted a response Monday afternoon:
Durbin (D-Ill.) is standing by his account of the now infamous meeting with Trump, in which the president allegedly made vulgar and racist comments while discussing immigration. Trump, however, has said he’s not a racist, and insists he never used the term “s***hole countries” to describe places such as Haiti, El Salvador and African nations during the private meeting.
“I know what happened. I stand behind every word that I said in terms of that meeting,” Durbin said, prior to Trump’s tweet Monday afternoon.
Durbin backed up those claims on Friday, and said Trump used that phrase multiple times, calling the president’s words “hate-filled, vile and racist.”
The meeting, held last Thursday, was to discuss legislation to protect young immigrants known as “Dreamers” from deportation. DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival and protects children of undocumented immigrants.
U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), who was in the meeting, originally said he didn’t remember Trump using those words. He later insisted Trump never used the phrase “s***hole countries,” and called Durbin’s account of the meeting a “gross misrepresentation.”
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who was also present for the meeting, initially claimed not to remember the president making the vulgar statement, but has since said he didn’t hear Trump use those words. Cotton claimed Durbin “has a history of misrepresenting” private meetings.
The Washington Post has since reported Cotton and Perdue heard the words “s***house,” and that was the basis for denying Durbin’s claim.
Durbin said neither word is acceptable from the president.
After Trump’s tweet, J.B. Pritzker, an Illinois Democratic candidate for governor, came to Durbin’s defense, also on Twitter.
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky is ready to uphold the budget over Dreamers, WBBM’s Nancy Harty reports.
Schakowsky said that without a deal on dreamers, she won’t vote for a resolution to fund the government after Jan. 19.