A top White House official on Sunday disputed a recent report that President Trump made offensive remarks about immigrants from Haiti and Nigeria.
“The people in the meeting say those comments never happened, so I have no belief that that actually transpired,” Marc Short, White House legislative director, said on Fox News Sunday.
But, Short added he was not part of the reported meeting when the comments allegedly took place.
Short used the story to talk about the Temporary Protected Status immigration program.
In early November, the Trump administration told 2,500 Nicaraguans with TPS 14 months to leave the U.S., and said it needed more time to decide the fate of 57,000 Hondurans living under the same designation.
Both groups were shielded from deportation after Hurricane Mitch ravaged Central America in 1998.
In late November, the Trump administration said 60,000 Haitians living in the U.S. under TPS stemming from a 2010 earthquake have 19 months to leave the country.
“It’s an important case,” Short said of TPS. “The president has again and again made a case that on our immigration laws, Congress needs to change these laws oppose to continuing sixth months extensions of people that are here from 10 and 20 years ago.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders denied the comments on Saturday.
“General Kelly, General McMaster, Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Nielsen, and all other senior staff actually in the meeting deny these outrageous claims,” she told the New York Times, which broke the story. “It’s both sad and telling the New York Times would print the lies of their anonymous ‘sources’ anyway.”