Vulnerable Republican: 'I can't defend what the president reportedly said'

Vulnerable Republican: 'I can't defend what the president reportedly said'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockLive coverage: House holds third day of public impeachment hearings Gun debate raises stakes in battle for Virginia legislature Progressives face steep odds in ousting incumbent Democrats MORE (R-Va.), a top Democratic target in next fall's midterm elections, said Friday that she “can’t defend” President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE’s reported comments calling Haiti, El Salvador and African nations “shithole countries.”

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“The United States is a nation of immigrants, and our families and forebears have come from all over the world. This diversity is our strength and uniquely American,” Comstock, who represents a district in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, said in a statement.

“What we need now is not division or discord, but finding a way we can come together and agree, as well as civilly disagree, as we tackle our diverse American challenges.”

Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAs Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Harris rips Gabbard over Fox appearances during Obama years Steyer, Gabbard and Yang shut out of early minutes of Democratic debate MORE defeated Trump by 10 points in Comstock's district in the 2016 race, making the incumbent one of the Democratic Party's main targets in a midterm election where they hope to win back the House majority. A crowded Democratic field has already emerged to vie for Comstock's seat.

Trump during a White House meeting Thursday with lawmakers from both parties questioned why the United States should accept refugees from "shithole countries," The Washington Post reported.

Trump on Friday denied using the language, but Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinTensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' Senators voice support for Iran protesters but stop short of taking action GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy MORE (D-Ill.), who attended the meeting, said he had made the "hateful" remarks.