Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said President Trump has used his words to “demean and belittle” people after it was reported that President Trump reportedly called some nations “shithole countries” during a White House meeting with lawmakers Thursday.
"The words of a president are very powerful words and unfortunately this president has used his words to demean and belittle instead of uplifting people,” Harris told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Friday. “And it is deeply troubling. It is unfortunate and it is irresponsible, simply irresponsible.”
As lawmakers and Trump discussed a potential bipartisan immigration deal Thursday, Trump started to discuss immigration from African nations and reportedly asked why the U.S. is “having all these people from shithole countries come here?” He also was said to have made some disparaging remarks about Haiti.
Harris pointed out the timing of Trump’s comments, noting that Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be celebrated on Monday.
"On this eve of MLK weekend, where we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, it's an interesting coincidence of timing, frankly, that the president of the United States would speak the words, the hateful words that he spoke, at a time that we are honoring a man that lived and died with the spirit of saying we are one people and human rights and humanity should be the priority for all of us," Harris said.
Trump defended himself Friday by tweeting he “never said anything derogatory" and claimed he never said anything derogatory specifically about Haiti. However, some lawmakers who were present at the meeting confirmed Trump's "shithole" comment, while others have said they do not recall the remark.