Sen. Tim Scott, the lone African American Republican in the upper chamber, expressed disappointment in hearing reports about President Trump disparaging Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations, calling them “shithole countries."
“If these comments are the President’s words they are disappointing to say the least," Scott, who represents South Carolina, said in a statement late Thursday evening.
"The American family was born from immigrants fleeing persecution and poverty and searching for a better future," he added. "Our strength lies in our diversity, including those who came here from Africa, the Caribbean and every other corner of the world. To deny these facts would be to ignore the brightest part of our history.”
.@SenatorTimScott in a statement to @ABC - “Our strength lies in our diversity...to deny these facts would be to ignore the brightest part of our history.” pic.twitter.com/IN4VBt1fNm— Mariam Khan (@MKhan47) January 12, 2018
Starting with the Washington Post earlier in the day, several reports have quoted Trump as he lashed out at lawmakers over possibly restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations that his administration plans to end.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” he asked. Trump also repotedly asked why the U.S. doesn’t have more immigration from countries like Norway.
The White House put out a statement defending Trump's stance on immigration, but did not address or deny Trump made the "shithole" comment.
Democrats and Republicans alike have condemned Trump after the remark was first reported.
Rep. Mia Love of Utah, whose parents are Haitian and was the first black Republican woman elected to Congress, called on Trump to apologize.
Another Republican lawmaker from Utah, Sen. Orrin Hatch, called for a "detailed explanation" about the remark.
Meanwhile, some members of Trump's support base, including conservative author Ann Coulter, appeared pleased.