WASHINGTON — In an extraordinary Oval Office exchange, President Donald Trump questioned Thursday why the U.S. should permit immigrants from "s---hole countries" as he rejected a plan by a bipartisan group of senators that would have changed rules affecting entrants from Africa and Haiti, according to three people briefed on the conversation. The White House did not deny the comment.
Trump made the remark in a meeting as Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., was explaining the outlines of an agreement that six senators had reached to protect hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation and bolster border security, the people said.
Durbin explained that as part of that deal, a lottery for visas that has benefited people from African and other diverse nations would be ended. In exchange, Durbin said people would be allowed to stay in the U.S. who fled here after disasters hit their homes in places including El Salvador, Guatemala and Haiti.
Trump specifically questioned why the U.S. would want to admit more people from Haiti. He also mentioned Africa and asked why more people from "s---hole countries" should be allowed into the U.S., the sources said.
Asked about the remarks, White House spokesman Raj Shad defended the president but did not directly deny his remarks.
"Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people," Shad said.
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly describe the conversation.
Today is Friday, Jan. 12, the 12th day of 2018. There are 353 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Jan. 12, 1948, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Sipuel v. Board of Regents of University of Oklahoma, unanimously ruled that state law schools could not discriminate against applicants on the basis of race.
On this date:
In 1773, the first public museum in America was organized in Charleston, South Carolina.
In 1828, the United States and Mexico signed a Treaty of Limits defining the boundary between the two countries to be the same as the one established by an 1819 treaty between the U.S. and Spain.
In 1915, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected, 204-174, a proposed constitutional amendment to give women nationwide the right to vote. The silent film drama "A Fool There Was," which propelled Theda Bara to stardom with her portrayal of a predatory vamp, premiered in New York.
In 1932, Hattie W. Caraway became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate after initially being appointed to serve out the remainder of the term of her late husband, Thaddeus.
In 1945, during World War II, Soviet forces began a major, successful offensive against the Germans in Eastern Europe. Aircraft from U.S. Task Force 38 sank about 40 Japanese ships off Indochina.
In 1959, Berry Gordy Jr. founded Motown Records (originally Tamla Records) in Detroit.
In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson said in his State of the Union address that the U.S. military should stay in Vietnam until Communist aggression there was stopped. The TV series "Batman," starring Adam West and Burt Ward as the Dynamic Duo, premiered on ABC, airing twice a week on consecutive nights.
In 1971, the groundbreaking situation comedy "All in the Family" premiered on CBS television.
In 1976, mystery writer Dame Agatha Christie died in Wallingford, England, at age 85.
In 1986, the shuttle Columbia blasted off with a crew that included the first Hispanic-American in space, Dr. Franklin R. Chang-Diaz.
In 1987, Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite arrived in Lebanon on his latest mission to win the release of Western hostages; however, Waite ended up being taken captive himself, and wasn't released until 1991.
In 1998, Linda Tripp provided Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's office with taped conversations between herself and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush, visiting Bahrain, said he was cheered by news that Iraq's parliament had approved legislation reinstating thousands of former supporters of Saddam Hussein's dissolved Baath party to government jobs, calling it "an important step toward reconciliation."
Five years ago: The NHL's four-month lockout finally ended as the league and the players' association completed signing a required memorandum of understanding. Miss New York Mallory Hagan won the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas.
One year ago: In yet another aftershock from the chaotic presidential campaign, the Justice Department inspector general opened an investigation into department and FBI actions before the election, including whether FBI Director James Comey followed established policies in the email investigation of Hillary Clinton. President Barack Obama ended the longstanding "wet foot, dry foot" immigration policy that allowed any Cuban who made it to U.S. soil to stay and become a legal resident. Novelist and filmmaker William Peter Blatty, who gave millions the fright of their lives with the best-selling novel and Oscar-winning movie "The Exorcist," died in Bethesda, Maryland, at age 89.
Today's Birthdays: Actress Katherine MacGregor (TV: "Little House on the Prairie") is 93. The Amazing Kreskin is 83. Country singer William Lee Golden (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 79. Actor Anthony Andrews is 70. Movie director Wayne Wang is 69. Actress Kirstie Alley is 67. Political commentator Rush Limbaugh is 67. Legal affairs blogger Ann Althouse is 67. Writer Walter Mosley is 66. Country singer Ricky Van Shelton is 66. Radio-TV personality Howard Stern is 64. Writer-producer-director John Lasseter is 61. Broadcast journalist Christiane Amanpour is 60. Actor Oliver Platt is 58. Basketball Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins is 58. Entrepreneur Jeff Bezos is 54. Rock singer Rob Zombie is 53. Actor Olivier Martinez is 52. Rapper TBird (B-Rock and the Bizz) is 51. Model Vendela is 51. Actress Farrah Forke is 50. Actress Rachael Harris is 50. Rock singer Zack de la Rocha is 48. Rapper Raekwon (Wu Tang Clan) is 48. Singer Dan Haseltine (Jars of Clay) is 45. Rock musician Matt Wong (Reel Big Fish) is 45. Singer Melanie Chisholm (Spice Girls) is 44. Contemporary Christian singer Jeremy Camp is 40. Actress Cynthia Addai-Robinson is 38. Rhythm-and-blues singer Amerie is 38. Actress Issa Rae is 33. Actress Naya Rivera is 31. Actor Will Rothhaar is 31. Actor Andrew Lawrence is 30. Rock singer ZAYN is 25. Pop/soul singer Ella Henderson (TV: "The X Factor") is 22.
Thought for Today: "Love is the strongest force the world possesses, and yet it is the humblest imaginable." — Mohandas K. Gandhi, Indian spiritual leader (1869-1948).
Sonya L. (Klingsporn) Foster
Wichita, Kan., Sept. 25, 1967 - Jan. 7, 2018.
Harold "Harry" Jurgens
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 at the American Lutheran Church of Filley, with Pastor LuRae Hallstrom officiating. Burial will be in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery of rural Pickrell. A memorial has been established to the Fuller Park Ball Field of rural Pickrell. The body will lie in state at the church for one hour preceding the services on Saturday.
Alice "Sandy" A. Knisely
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 at 1 p.m. at the Centenary United Methodist Church of Beatrice, with the Rev. Mark Schutt and Chaplain Sharon Schuster officiating. A family prayer service will be held at 12:45 p.m. in the library of the church on Saturday. A guestbook for signatures will be available at the church for one hour preceding the services on Saturday. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in her name to Beatrice Community Players.
Richard "Dick" G. Ramsey Sr.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 at Shepherd of the Hills Church in Hickman, with Pastor Ron Drury officiating. Interment with military rites by the United States Air Force will follow in the Spring Creek Cemetery east of Tecumseh. Visitation will be held from noon to 8 p.m. with family greeting friends from 6 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018 at Harman-Wright Mortuary in Beatrice. Memorials are suggested to the family's choice, in care of the mortuary.
Boyd L. Johnson Sr.
A celebration of life and open house will be held on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 at 1 p.m. at Parker's Smokehouse in Ashland. Memorials can be directed to the Ashland Fire and Rescue.