Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., said Sunday President Trump's disparaging comments about Haiti and some African nations were "something stupid," but criticized the press for "breathless" coverage of the remarks.
"It's problematic at many different levels. At the same time, the coverage has been breathless," Sanford told MSNBC regarding reports Trump used the phrase "shithole countries" in a White House meeting with senators to negotiate bipartisan immigration legislation.
"I think a lot of people would say, okay, the guy said something stupid. I think a lot of people were disappointed with the way he said it and what he said. But we have huge problems... that don't get the same level of coverage," he continued.
.@RepSanfordSC won't call the president's remarks racist, but does call them "unfortunate," "problematic at many different levels" and "something stupid" pic.twitter.com/VLSUNIkITH— Kasie DC (@KasieDC) January 15, 2018
While Sanford categorized the language as "unfortunate," he steered clear of calling Trump a racist.
"I can't judge his heart. I can judge him by what we can all be judged by, which is by our actions and our words. And his words are unfortunate and I think they've been roundly condemned," Sanford said.
Trump on Friday denied using the phrase "shithole countries" in the Oval Office meeting, but admitted to adopting strong language during the discussion.
Lawmakers who were present have recounted conflicting memories of the conversation.