Two GOP senators said Friday they "do not recall" President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump mocks Murkowski, Cheney election chances Race debate grips Congress US reentry to Paris agreement adds momentum to cities' sustainability efforts MORE's reference to "shithole countries" during an Oval Office meeting on immigration. 

Sens. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonAnti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle Tim Scott to participate in GOP event in Iowa Exclusive: GOP senators seek FBI investigation into Biden Pentagon nominee 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 DurbinSchumer warns Democrats can't let GOP block expansive agenda Holder, Yates lead letter backing Biden pick for Civil Rights Division at DOJ Biden's gun control push poses danger for midterms 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 GrahamOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate confirms Mallory to lead White House environment council | US emissions dropped 1.7 percent in 2019 | Interior further delays Trump rule that would make drillers pay less to feds The Memo: Biden puts 9/11 era in rear view Senate confirms Biden's pick to lead White House environmental council MORE (R-S.C.) — whom Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottTim Scott to participate in GOP event in Iowa Shocking killing renews tensions over police Democrat: 'Registration, engagement' are keys to toppling Sen. Tim Scott in South Carolina 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."