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Sen. Durbin: Trump 'said these hate filled things and he said them repeatedly'

President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Washington. Trump on Thursday pushed the House to renew a critical national security program that allows spy agencies to collect intelligence on foreign targets abroad. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A senator present at a White House immigration meeting says President Donald Trump used vulgar language to describe African countries, saying he “said these hate filled things and he said them repeatedly.”

Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, on Friday told reporters that Trump questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and that he referenced “sh**hole countries” in Africa.

Durbin said “sh**holes” was “the exact word used by the president not just once but repeatedly.”

Durbin added, “When the question was asked about Haitians ... he said, ‘Haitians? Do we need more Haitians?’”

Trump said on Twitter Friday that his language during the meeting was “tough,” but “this was not the language used.” He did not specifically deny using the word “sh**hole.”

President Donald Trump did not respond to questions about his use of a vulgarity or his question about why the U.S. should accept more immigrants from Haiti and African nations than from countries like Norway.

The questions came Friday in the White House when Trump signed a proclamation honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day, noting the contributions of a “great American hero.”

Trump did not respond to several questions about the incident, including whether he actually used vulgar language to describe African nations, or if he is racist.

The president said at the White House that “love was central” to the slain civil rights leader. Trump said the nation celebrates King for “standing up for the self-evident truth Americans hold so dear, that no matter what the color of our skin or place of our birth, we are all created equal by God.”

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