Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen testified under oath Tuesday that President Trump did not make a remark about “sh*thole” countries heavily reported to have been made in a meeting last week on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, she stated that she “did not hear” the president use such terms to describe African nations, but did aver that he used “tough language.”
“I actually was struck more by the fact that the conversation … had gotten to a place where many people in the room were using inappropriate language in the Oval Office,” she said, and claimed that “specific cuss words [were] being used by a variety of members.”
Nielsen stated on CBS This Morning that she did not hear President Trump make the now-infamous “sh*thole” remark.
“The President made a broad characterization when he talked about people who came from Haiti and African countries versus people from Norway,” CBS anchor John Dickerson said. “Why is he making broad characterizations about people who come from those countries when you say U.S. policy is trying to move away from broad characterizations and move toward people?”
“I think the context of that conversation, there was so much covered in the meeting,” Nielsen responded. “But part of the conversation was really focused on this merit-based concept. He had just met with the Prime Minister of Norway, was very impressed with what she told him about successes that Norway has experienced. He was just using that as an example of a place that accepts immigrants in part based on merit.”
“Let me ask you about your testimony on Tuesday,” Dickerson continued. “Senator Durbin, who was in this Oval Office meeting about which there has been so much discussion, is going to be there. What if he asks you whether you agree with his representation of the meeting?”
“I have no problem repeating what I’ve said,” she said. “I just don’t — that’s not a word that I remember being used. It was very impassioned. People on all sides feel strongly about this issue, frankly, as well as they should. There were a lot of conversations happening at the same time. It’s not a particular phrase that I heard.”
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