"Why don't you ask me, 'is he a racist?'"
"Let me tell you what, you can be dark as charcoal and lily white - it doesn't matter as long as you're nice to him", Graham explained. Booker also took a shot directly at Nielsen for saying she could not remember if Trump used that term.
The US president was criticised by the UN and the African Union (AU) after it was credibly reported that he had referred to Haiti, El Salvador and nations in Africa as "shithole countries" during an Oval Office meeting on Thursday. And he says the IL senator is threatening prospects for a deal to protect certain immigrants.
The White House has not denied that Trump said "s-thole" though Trump has already pushed back on some depictions of the meeting. Durbin said the remarks were "vile, hate-filled and clearly racial in their content".
Trump has denied making the vulgar comment.
The U.S. Congressional Black Caucus said, "President Trump's comments are yet another confirmation of his racially insensitive and ignorant views".
Trump and fellow Republicans have disputed public accounts of the discussion.
The Post's White House reporter, Josh Dawsey, said a White House official had told him there was a debate "internally" about the word used, with two senators - Republicans David Perdue and Tom Cotton - saying they had heard the latter.
Perdue described as a "gross misrepresentation" reports that Trump used the vulgarity. Durbin has said repeatedly. Sen. Tim Scott, told a SC newspaper on Monday that "My memory hasn't evolved".
Also at that meeting Carson brought up the high education level of Nigerians who come into this nation, something that Farris said he was unaware of until then. I found no reason whatsoever to think the president has any issues whatsoever with his thought process'. Trump himself has acknowledged the oddity of their mutual affection; during a meeting with Republican lawmakers in early January, he remarked, "I really like Lindsey". Some participants and others familiar with the conversation said Trump challenged immigration from "shithole" countries of Africa and disparaged Haiti as well. They know better. If they are trying to rescue the White House by this distinction between '-hole' and '-house, ' that is a thin reed to try and create a rescue operation. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. "Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!"
After greeting students at the Mikva Challenge MLK Youth Summit at Jones College Prep, Emanuel called it "a sad commentary - both on his words and his actions" that the president of the United States must "affirmatively declare" that he is not a racist.
Some Democrats have threatened to vote against legislation to extend government funding, which expires on Friday, unless protections for the Dreamers are included.
Mr Trump made the remarks during a meeting with lawmakers on Thursday (local time), while discussing immigration.