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Conservative writer: Trump called friends to brag about 's---hole countries' remark

A conservative columnist said President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report Christine Blasey Ford to be honored by Palo Alto City Council MORE called friends to brag after the meeting in which the president reportedly referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as "shithole countries."

"It’s weird that people in the room don’t remember Trump using that word when Trump himself was calling friends to brag about it afterwards," Erick Erickson, who has in the past been critical of Trump, said in a tweet.

"I spoke to one of those friends. The President thought it would play well with the base."

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Trump faced widespread backlash and accusations of racism after a report he disparaged several nations during a meeting with lawmakers at the White House.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump reportedly asked, referring to immigrants from African nations, Haiti and El Salvador.

The White House initially did not deny the comment, which came as lawmakers work on an immigration deal.

In a tweet Friday morning, Trump denied he said "anything derogatory about Haitians."

"Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said 'take them out.' Made up by Dems," the president tweeted.

Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) said Sunday that Trump didn't use the word "shithole."

“I’m telling you he did not use that word, George. And I’m telling you it’s a gross misrepresentation. How many times do you want me to say that?” Perdue said during an interview on ABC's "This Week."

A report last week said Trump defended his comment in private.

Citing a person who spoke with the president, The Associated Press 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.