Durbin spokesman: GOP senators have ‘credibility problem’

A spokesman for Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinTrump throws support behind criminal justice bill Schumer reelected as Senate Democratic Leader Criminal justice reform faces a make-or-break moment MORE (D-Ill.) on Sunday attacked Republican lawmakers for denying they heard President TrumpDonald John TrumpMeet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time Avenatti denies domestic violence allegations: 'I have never struck a woman' Trump names handbag designer as ambassador to South Africa MORE call Haiti, El Salvador and African nations “shithole countries” during a White House meeting.

“Yesterday, Senators Cotton and Perdue ‘could not recall’ what the President said. Today they can. That, folks, is a credibility problem,” Ben Marter, Durbin’s director of communications, tweeted.

In a meeting with lawmakers last week, Trump reportedly questioned why the U.S. kept accepting immigrants from "shithole countries" such as Haiti, El Salvador and African nations, instead of accepting more immigrants from places like Norway. 

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Durbin, Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenators return to Washington intent on action against Saudis Bill to protect Mueller blocked in Senate McConnell: Mueller probe should be allowed to finish MORE (R-S.C.), Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonTrump throws support behind criminal justice bill McConnell reelected as leader, Thune promoted to whip Criminal justice reform faces a make-or-break moment MORE (R-Ark.) and Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) were in attendance.

Durbin told reporters Trump made the remark, and stood by his claim even after the president denied it. Graham didn't directly confirm or deny the comment, but reportedly told Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottTime to pass the First Step Act Debbie Stabenow reelected to a fourth Senate term in Michigan Trump should stick to his guns and close failed South Carolina nuclear MOX project MORE (R-S.C.) reports of Trump's remarks were "basically accurate."

Cotton and Perdue initially issued a statement saying they did not recall Trump saying "shithole countries." On Sunday morning talk shows, both senators further clarified their statements.

Perdue outright denied Trump made the vulgar remark, while Cotton said he did not hear the comment, and suggested Durbin has a history of misrepresenting White House meetings.

"I didn't hear it. And I was sitting no farther away from Donald Trump than Dick Durbin was, and I know what Dick Durbin has said about the president's repeated statements is incorrect,” Cotton said on CBS's "Face The Nation."

Marter also took aim at Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenMattis defends border deployment, likens it to 1916 effort against Pancho Villa Trump says he will decide Nielsen's fate 'shortly' Possible Nielsen replacement Tom Homan: ‘She’s working hard and doing a good job’ MORE, who was also at the meeting and said Sunday she didn’t recall him using “that exact phrase.”

“Secretary Nielsen is visibly uncomfortable having to lie — twice — to cover for the President. Pretty early in her tenure to lose her credibility but that’s the deal you make when you sign on to be a face of this Administration,” Marter tweeted.