Haitian-American Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, said Sunday she couldn't "defend the indefensible" after it was reported President Trump made disparaging comments about Haiti, adding Trump was yet to apologize to her for his "racist" remarks.
"I still think that he should apologize. I think that there are people that are looking for an apology. And I think that that would show real leadership," Love told CNN.
When pressed on whether she thought Trump's statements were "racist," she hesitated before admitting "yes."
"The White House did reach out. They would like to meet with us. I don't know what is going to be said, what is going to be done," Love continued.
A Washington Post report on Jan. 11 quoted Trump as he lashed out at lawmakers over possibly restoring protections for immigrants from countries like Haiti and African nations that his administration plans to end.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” he asked.
But Trump defended himself Friday by tweeting that he “never said anything derogatory" nor anything specifically about Haiti.
Love said Trump's expressions were "heartbreaking" for her parents, who hail from the island nation, particularly after meeting with Vice President Mike Pence during the 2016 election as part of Trump's outreach to Haitian-American voters.
However, she added that they had also taught her "not to be a victim."
"We can't look to Washington, we can't look to the president to tell us how to behave, how to feel," she said. "We have to be respectful, we are responsible for who we are and how we behave. And when history looks back at us, they'll judge us for whether we're able to rise to the occasion and rise above the negativity or whether we wallowed in it and allowed it to take us down."
Love implored colleagues in the House and Senate to not let Trump's comments "derail" negotiations over a legislative fix to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
"There are people that are depending on us," Love said. "Not just Americans on border security, but families that are waiting, that are in limbo, that need something that a president can't give or take away from them."