Two GOP senators said Friday they "do not recall" President TrumpDonald John TrumpEx-ethics chief calls on Trump to end 'monstrous' migrant policies Laura Bush blasts Trump migrant policy as 'cruel' and 'immoral' US denies report of coalition airstrike on Syria MORE's reference to "shithole countries" during an Oval Office meeting on immigration. 

Sens. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonWhite House warns Congress against trying to block ZTE deal With caveats, Republicans praise Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un GOP senator: Trump sitting down with Kim not ‘pretty’ but ‘necessary’ to stop nuclear threat MORE (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) issued a joint statement saying they did not recall the president making the exact comments and called out Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinHugh Hewitt to Trump: 'It is 100 percent wrong to separate border-crossing families' Opioid treatment plans must include a trauma-informed approach Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Dems want answers on DOJ ObamaCare decision MORE (D-Ill.) for confirming the comments. 

"In regards to Senator Durbin’s accusation, we do not recall the President saying these comments specifically but what he did call out was the imbalance in our current immigration system, which does not protect American workers and our national interest," the senators wrote.  

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Trump, in a Thursday meeting that also included Durbin, Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP senator: Family separation policy 'inconsistent' with American values Trump’s trusted diplomat faces daunting task with North Korea Trump’s danger on North Korea? Raised expectations MORE (R-S.C.) — whom Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottAnti-Trump Republicans better look out — voters might send you packing Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Fed nominees vow to rebuff pressure from Trump on interest rates MORE (R-S.C.) said confirmed the remarks to him — and Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteWhite House faces growing outcry over migrant family policies FBI agent who sent anti-Trump texts offers to testify on Capitol Hill Gowdy: House will use 'full arsenal' of constitutional weapons to get DOJ, FBI compliance on subpoenas MORE (R-Va.), reportedly referred to immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and certain African nations as coming from “shithole countries."

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to The Washington Post.

Durbin on Friday called the president's comments "vile and racist," adding that he "cannot believe in this history of the White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday." 

Durbin was the only Democrat at the closed immigration meeting in the White House on Thursday, where lawmakers suggested allowing immigrants from countries such as Haiti, El Salvador and other African countries to regain their protection from deportation in the U.S. 

“President Trump brought everyone to the table this week and listened to both sides," the Republicans wrote, referring to Trump's bipartisan meetings on immigration reform. "But regrettably, it seems that not everyone is committed to negotiating in good faith."

Trump said Friday on Twitter that he used "tough" language on immigration but "never said anything derogatory about Haitians."