Durbin spokesman: GOP senators have ‘credibility problem’

A spokesman for Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility House panel investigating decision to resume federal executions To combat domestic terrorism, Congress must equip law enforcement to fight rise in white supremacist attacks MORE (D-Ill.) on Sunday attacked Republican lawmakers for denying they heard President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated 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 GrahamGraham warns Trump on Taliban deal in Afghanistan: Learn from 'Obama's mistakes' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid Trump meets with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan MORE (R-S.C.), Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonCongress must address gender gap in nominations to military service academies GOP senators press Google on reports it developed a smart speaker with Huawei Sunday shows - Mass shootings grab the spotlight 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 ScottGOP Sen. Tim Scott says if he runs in 2022 it will be his last race When it comes to student debt, it is time to talk solutions Democrats call for Senate to return to vote on gun reform after two deadly mass shootings 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 NielsenTrump casts uncertainty over top intelligence role Juan Williams: Trump, his allies and the betrayal of America Trump taps Texas Rep. Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats as top intelligence official 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.