These lawmakers were in the Trump immigration meeting. Here’s what they had to say

Posted at 4:02 PM, Jan 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-13 18:03:17-05

By CNN Staff

During a White House meeting Thursday on immigration reform, President Donald Trump reportedly referred to African nations as “shithole countries.” Here’s what five of the lawmakers who attended the meeting said afterward about the controversy.

Two who attended — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, and Rep. Robert Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia — have not made public comments.

Sen. Lindsey Graham

The Republican from South Carolina issued a statement:

“Following comments by the President, I said my piece directly to him yesterday (Thursday). The President and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel.

“I’ve always believed that America is an idea, not defined by its people but by its ideals.”

Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue

Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, and David Purdue, a Republican from Georgia, issued a joint statement:

“We do not recall the President saying these comments specifically but what he did call out was the imbalance in our current immigration system, which does not protect American workers and our national interest.”

Sen. Dick Durbin

The Democrat from Illinois spoke to reporters on camera:

“(The President) said things which were hate-filled, vile and racist. … But I cannot believe that in the history of the White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken words that I personally heard our President speak yesterday.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart

The Republican from Florida issued a statement.

“For months, I have been involved in numerous high level bipartisan meetings negotiating DACA (Deferred Action for Child Arrivals), including Thursday’s meeting at the White House. There are almost 800,000 young DACA beneficiaries who will face imminent deportation in March if we do not reach a deal. I will not be diverted from all possible efforts to continue negotiating to stop the deportations. Nothing will divert my focus to stop the deportation of these innocent people whose futures are at stake.”