Two GOP senators said Friday they "do not recall" President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE's reference to "shithole countries" during an Oval Office meeting on immigration. 

Sens. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonOvernight Defense: Lawmakers release compromise defense bill in defiance of Trump veto threat | Senate voting next week on blocking UAE arms sale | Report faults lack of training, 'chronic fatigue' in military plane crashes Compromise defense bill excludes competing nuclear testing language Republican senators introduce bill to protect government workers from being targeted at home 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 DurbinDick DurbinCongress faces late-year logjam Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms Criminal justice groups offer support for Durbin amid fight for Judiciary spot 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 GrahamBiden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country The Memo: Harris moves signal broad role as VP Former US attorney asks for probe of allegations Graham pressured Georgia official MORE (R-S.C.) — whom Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottDemocrats lead in diversity in new Congress despite GOP gains The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - Pfizer unveils detailed analysis of COVID-19 vaccine & next steps GOP senators congratulate Harris on Senate floor MORE (R-S.C.) said confirmed the remarks to him — and Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteBottom line No documents? Hoping for legalization? Be wary of Joe Biden Press: Trump's final presidential pardon: himself 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."