Two GOP senators said Friday they "do not recall" President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE's reference to "shithole countries" during an Oval Office meeting on immigration. 

Sens. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonGOP senators condemn 'vulgar' messages directed at Collins over Kavanaugh GOP turns its fire on Google Overnight Defense: Trump denies report he's looking at Mattis replacements | Inhofe officially gets Armed Services gavel | Trump revives shutdown 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 DurbinGrassley to administration: You must consult Congress on refugee cap Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan group wants to lift Medicaid restriction on substance abuse treatment 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.  

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump, in a Thursday meeting that also included Durbin, Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' Graham knocks South Korea over summit with North MORE (R-S.C.) — whom Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottOvernight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Trump to visit North Carolina on Wednesday in aftermath of Florence Cruz gets help from Senate GOP in face of serious challenge from O’Rourke MORE (R-S.C.) said confirmed the remarks to him — and Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteVirginia reps urge Trump to declare federal emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence Republicans mull new punishments for dissident lawmakers Republicans ready to grill Bruce Ohr as Trump-DOJ feud escalates 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."