Nielsen says 'possible' Trump used vulgar language in meeting

Nielsen says 'possible' Trump used vulgar language in meeting
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' MORE’s Homeland Security secretary said Tuesday that it is possible he referred to “shithole countries” during a closed-door meeting on immigration last week, though she maintained that she did not hear the vulgar word used.

Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw Five memorable moments from Sarah Sanders at the White House MORE faced fierce questions at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about a Washington Post report that Trump made disparaging remarks about Haiti, El Salvador and African countries during the bipartisan meeting on Thursday. 

Nielsen has said repeatedly that she did not hear Trump use the word “shithole.” 

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“You testified under oath that you did not hear the president use that word at the meeting,” Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw Julián Castro defends going on Fox: I'm focused on 'the people out there watching' MORE (D-Minn.) asked. “Is it possible that he said that word at the meeting and you didn’t hear it?” 

“Anything is possible, yes ma’am,” Nielsen answered. 

She also said Tuesday that she did not hear him say “shithouse,” which reports have suggested may have been the term he actually used. 

“It was a meeting of 12 people. There was cross talk,” Nielsen said later, when asked if that term could have been used even when she didn’t hear it. “Anything is possible. I can’t testify to what I don’t know.”

The Washington Post first reported that Trump referred derisively to “shithole countries" during the meeting and exhibited a preference for immigrants from places like Norway. Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw The Hill's Morning Report - Trump and House Democrats resume battle MORE (D-Ill.) has backed the Post's account, though some Republican senators have denied that Trump used the term “shithole.” 

Trump himself has denied making the disparaging comment and described the press accounts as inaccurate. 

Trump’s alleged comments have attracted massive attention in recent days, with Democrats stepping up charges of racism.