Trump defended 's---hole countries' remark in private: report

Trump defended 's---hole countries' remark in private: report
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: WHCA picking non-comedian for headliner a 'good first step' Five takeaways from Mississippi's Senate debate Watergate’s John Dean: Nixon would tell Trump 'he's going too far' MORE reportedly defended his “shithole countries” remark in private, according to The Associated Press.

Citing a person who spoke with the president, the AP reported that Trump doubled down on his reported comments from this week, defending the remark as not racist but a “straightforward assessment” of the living conditions in the countries discussed.

The person who spoke to Trump told the AP that the president was not apologetic, but blamed the media for distorting his meaning. Trump also reportedly believes that he was saying what many people think.

The Washington Post reported this week that Trump, in a private meeting about immigration Thursday with lawmakers in the Oval Office, complained about the U.S. attracting immigrants from “shithole countries." He was referring specifically to Haiti, El Salvador and some African nations.

The blowback from the comments was swift and harsh, with dozens of lawmakers, world leaders and other figures calling out Trump for racism.

Trump defended himself publicly and appeared to deny the comments in a tweet Friday morning, saying that the language reported was “not the language used” in the meeting. The White House did not initially deny the comments.

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At least one Democratic lawmaker present at the meeting confirmed the comments, though two GOP lawmakers who were present said they did not recall them.

Trump’s private explanation for the comments, as reported by the AP, is similar to that of conservative media figures that came to the president’s defense on Thursday.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson criticized the backlash, saying that if countries weren’t “shitholes,” immigrants would not want to come to the U.S.

"So if you say Norway is a better place to live and Haiti is kind of a hole, well anyone who’s been to those countries or has lived in them would agree,” Carlson said. “But we’re jumping up and down, ‘Oh, you can’t say that.’ Why can’t you say that?”

And Fox News host Jesse Watters said that the “forgotten men and women” who make up Trump’s base would approve of the comment.