The Latest: Trump declares ‘I am not a racist’

FILE- In this Jan. 9, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. Trump used profane language Thursday, Jan. 11, as he questioned why the U.S. should permit immigrants from certain countries, according to three people briefed on the conversation. The White House did not deny the comment. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump says in the wake of his recent comments about Haiti and African countries that “I am not a racist.”

Trump has been accused of using a vulgar word to describe African countries during an Oval Office meeting last week with a bipartisan group of six senators. People briefed on the conversation also say that during the meeting the president also questioned the need to admit more Haitians to the U.S.

The individuals spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to describe the meeting publicly.

Trump addressed the issue briefly Sunday as he arrived for dinner at one of his Florida golf clubs with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

Asked what he thinks about people who think he’s racist, Trump said: “I am not a racist.” He told reporters: “I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. That I can tell you.”

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11:25 a.m.

A spokesman for Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is questioning the credibility of a Republican senator who says President Donald Trump did not refer to African countries using a vulgarity during a closed-door meeting.

Ben Marter tweeted Sunday, shortly after Republican Georgia Sen. David Perdue went on ABC’s “This Week” to call reports that Trump used vile language in the meeting a “gross misrepresentation.” Perdue says Durbin and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham were mistaken in indicating Trump had.

Previously, Perdue and Republican Sen. Tom Cotton said in a statement that they “do not recall the President saying those comments specifically.” Cotton said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he “didn’t hear” the vulgar word.

Marter tweeted: “Credibility is something that’s built by being consistently honest over time. Senator Durbin has it. Senator Perdue does not. Ask anyone who’s dealt with both.”

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10:50 a.m.

A Republican senator is insisting that President Donald Trump did not use a vulgar term in referring to African countries during a closed-door meeting on immigration that he and five other senators attended last week.

Georgia Sen. David Perdue called reports describing Trump as using vile language in the meeting a “gross misrepresentation” and said Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham were mistaken in indicating that was the case.

Perdue said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week: “I am telling you that he did not use that word. And I’m telling you it’s a gross misrepresentation.”

He and Republican Sen. Tom Cotton had previously issued a statement saying they “do not recall the President saying those comments specifically.” Cotton said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he “didn’t hear” the vulgar word used.

World leaders have denounced Trump’s comments as racist.

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9:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump says a program to protect immigrants brought into the U.S. illegally as children is “probably dead.”

The Republican president tweets that “Democrats don’t really want it,” referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Obama-era program shields these individuals, commonly referred to as “Dreamers,” from deportation. Trump said last year that he’s killing the program unless Congress sends him legislation by March to keep it.

Trump last week rejected an immigration deal drafted by a bipartisan group of senators.

The deal included a pathway to citizenship for “Dreamers” and $1.6 billion for border security, including Trump’s promised border wall.

Trump tweeted Sunday: “DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military.”

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