Reject Trump’s racist language and get back to policy-making on immigration

President Donald Trump listens during a Jan. 9 meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy. He reportedly used racist comments during a closed-door follow-up meeting on Jan. 11. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

The blatantly racist comments made by President Trump during a private meeting with lawmakers on Thursday—confirmed on Friday by Democratic Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois—were all too believable. Mr. Trump has a long history of racist and xenophobic remarks, including his defense of white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, Va., last year. When talking about immigration policy with congressional leaders on Jan. 11, Mr. Trump reportedly referred to African nations as “shithole countries” and asked, “Why do we need more Haitians?” in response to a proposal to protect refugees from that nation. (On a previous occasion Mr. Trump reportedly said of immigrants from Haiti, “They all have AIDS.”)

The latest cruel and small-minded remarks by the president are contemptible, as is any attempt to spin them as candor or straight talk. Mr. Trump was not making a serious policy suggestion when, for example, he said he would prefer immigration from Norway, and his comments do not deserve to be discussed as if he were. His history and the context of his remarks make it clear that he was acting on a primitive impulse to denigrate poorer nations with large nonwhite populations. Additionally, he was ignoring the essential human dignity that immigrants and refugees are given by God no matter what their birthplace.

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Mr. Trump ignored the essential human dignity that immigrants and refugees are given by God no matter what their birthplace.

While Mr. Trump’s most recent remarks are terrible, by themselves they do not reveal anything we did not already know about his presidency. They are still damaging, however, because they have disrupted initial progress toward a compromise proposal to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. While national attention is devoted to parsing Mr. Trump’s language, some 800,000 young adults who were brought to the United States without documentation as children, known as Dreamers, are still facing the uncertainty and danger of deportation.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Senator Durbin and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, has been working on a package that would save DACA. Their bill would also impose tougher border security and include funding for Mr. Trump’s frequently touted “wall” along the Mexican border. Mr. Trump had signaled his willingness to back such a compromise, which includes significant concessions from both political parties, earlier in the week. That proposal also included plans to cut a visa lottery program by 50 percent but prioritize applications from nations formerly covered by the Temporary Protected Status program. These nations include Haiti, the detail that prompted Mr. Trump’s latest expression of intolerance.

The outburst should not derail the essential policy work of renewing DACA and bringing some stability and sanity to our nation’s immigration policy.

That outburst should not derail the essential policy work of renewing DACA and bringing some stability and sanity to our nation’s immigration policy. Mr. Trump’s outrageous remarks and neverending capacity to shock the body politic are understandably making headlines, but we must not allow such behavior to stop the work of basic governance, already threatened by partisan entrenchment and constant brinkmanship. Hundreds of thousands of Dreamers, refugees and their families are waiting for Washington to do what is right. They deserve action, not another political sideshow.

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J Cosgrove
11 months ago

Maybe the editors should specify who should and who should not be allowed to immigrate to the United States and how should the US immigration policy be different from other countries and why.

Also what is the editors recommendations on border security and preventing unauthorized entry into the country.

Or are they for open borders? If they are, they should have the courage to say so. If they are not then they should specify a border security policy that would work.

I find it interesting all the articles suddenly appearing on America because of how Trump's used a profanity. The world has been in turmoil out there and all of sudden the editors saw a chance to pounce. I am no way defending Trump's comment but the reaction is so blatantly obvious and political. This outcry has nothing to do with racism or immigration. This is purely political to restrict the power of Donald Trump and hopefully get rid of him.

To the editors, what has given us the"s***holes" is not the people but their economic systems, systems that the editors endorse.

German Otalora
11 months ago

It is the editors responsibility to fight for christian values and the dignity of all human beings and the sanctity of the whole universe. Defining immigration policies is a political duty whose responsibility is of the entire governing body. The editors point is well made. Massive human movements we see now a day have multiple causes. Some are proper of our current times, some other are the same that moved millions of people to America in the past two centuries. Ellis Island has been already forgotten by many Americans, though their ancestry might be traced to XIX and XX centuries openness of American ports of entry. If we still trust in God, we have to be consistent with a basic and common understanding of this belief

J Cosgrove
11 months ago

It is the editors responsibility to fight for christian values and the dignity of all human beings and the sanctity of the whole universe.

Just what is the Christian thing to do? I am not sure the editor's positions would stand up under close scrutiny. They seem more political than necessarily Christian.

Defining immigration policies is a political duty whose responsibility is of the entire governing body..

The editors freely recommend political positions all the time. America, the magazine, is mainly a political publication. The headline they chose is about politics. I have no doubt they will criticize anything put forward by the current government.. That is cowardly without proposing a recommendation of their own and being able to defend it. All defenses of their recommended policies are emotional and not rational. Not very Jesuit or at least the Jesuit of old.

Until people are realistic, there will be no satisfactory ending to the poverty and oppression in various parts of the world. Until the early `1800's nearly all the world lived-in poverty. At that time there was less than a billion people in the world. Now there are 7 billion.

Only one economic system has been able to get a significant portion of the population out of poverty. Yet I do not hear the editors pushing for these economic reforms in the rest of the world. Certainly 7 billion people cannot live in Western Europe and the United States. So the solution lies elsewhere than supporting migration. The solution is exporting a system that will relieve poverty wherever it is tried. Compare Hong Kong with China. Compare South Korea with North Korea. Compare Japan with the rest of Asia.

Anne Chapman
11 months ago

One might suggest, Mr. Cosgrove, that you also need to be a bit more realistic, so that you don't try to address immediate emergencies with "solutions" that will take decades to achieve, even imperfectly.

Your reference to 7 billion people wanting to immigrate to the US and Europe is a straw-man statement. Most refugees and displaced persons would MUCH rather be able to stay in their own countries. They have been forced out in order to attempt to get themselves and their families to some kind of safety, to simply survive. In the case of many, especially in the mid-East in countries such as Syria, their homes and towns and cities have been destroyed, and many of their family members have been killed in the years of war and violence. Millions in Latin America are also trying to escape violence, in addition to extreme poverty.

War, violence, oppression and poverty - these are exactly the reasons most of white Americans' ancestors immigrated to this country, and the Catholics among them were not exactly welcomed by the WASPs who preceded them. How quickly the comfortable forget the lessons of history, the times when their own ancestors were among the poor and persecuted and oppressed. Our ancestors didn't come here because life was great where they were. They came to survive, and to give their children a chance at a better life. Now many of their too comfortable descendants wish to turn their backs on those who are suffering in the very same ways their own immigrant ancestors suffered.

The long run solution may very well be to somehow transform the countries in crisis now into stable, peaceful, democratic countries, with some form of capitalist economies. But by the time that miracle happens, many would die. One might suggest that those who think that the long-run economic and political solutions will save people's lives TODAY are not exactly being realistic.

Christians have a moral obligation to help, including "welcoming the stranger". Those who want to close the doors on the world's most desperate people need to re-read the gospels, and examine their consciences. They need to face up to the fact that being a christian, being a follower of Christ, is not always easy nor comfortable. It might even require a bit more of a sacrifice than giving their unwanted clothing to Goodwill or attending Adoration, while congratulating themselves on their holiness and piety.

We are the richest nation in the world, and we also are among the least densely populated of the "rich" nations. We can afford to help people who need help. And this requires political solutions, not pie in the sky wishes for instant transformation of all the struggling countries in the world into successful capitalist countries - along with peace on earth so that people aren’t forced to flee bombs and bullets. Those who want to pretend that the Jesuits and Francis and other Catholic leaders should ignore politics are ignoring how the real world works.

Your long-term "solution" is no solution at all for those who need help NOW. And in the long run, for your solution to work, America must continue to support free trade - and not pursue isolationism and protectionism, as proposed by the current administration. Political policies can help or harm people, and so Christians must be involved politically. Prayer is not enough. Since some form of capitalism is probably the best LONG-TERM hope for bringing countries out of poverty, I hope that you are urging your political representatives to defend free trade, as most of the advances made in the Asian countries you mention were export-led.

Those who constantly attack the editors and writers of America seem very angry. They seem defensive. It seems that those who constantly attack the staff of America don't like being reminded that that those of us who claim to be Christians have a moral obligation to support policies and political solutions that help the “least of these”, including “the strangers” among us.

William Bannon
11 months ago

Anne, in the near future I am taking some money to an Ecuadorian widow (with 2 children) who watched her
husband get murdered in December after a night Catholic prayer service ...murdered by an inner city black American robber for not having money for him during said robbery. I looked up the data. The country they left had a murder rate of 8.23 per 100,000....high but not as high as the inner city area they now live in...35.5 (2016) per 100,000 ( Newark border). We are getting South and Central Americans killed by not telling them that moving to the " richest nation in the world" is a delusion unless you're bringing enough money ( hundreds of thousands) to live in actual safe neighborhoods no where's near the inner city....which is safer than only two Central American countries...El Salvador and Honduras...period. Mexico's murder rate is half that of the American inner city. And so our egos are getting immigrants killed and widowed but let's just keep on the narrative that makes us feel non Trump and Christ like as though Christ would hold night prayer services in the inner city so that families could be endangered just traveling to same. You mean well but you need to look at UN murder data and city murder data in the US. Immigrants from Central America are not moving to the suburbs of Westchester or Bergen county. They're moving to the non rich sections of our cities and they will be bullied at school by much larger folk and robbed largely at night if they travel to prayer services. Similarly, an elder couple went out at night to socialize in the Greenville section of Jersey City several years ago....the man was killed for the same reason. There are two Americas....in one, you do not go out at night...period. I don't think we're as a Church informing Latinos of the data that says...staying there in Ecuador is 4 times safer than USA low income area city life.

https://www.rlsmedia.com/article/man-wanted-killing-irvington-father-ca…

J Cosgrove
11 months ago

Ms. Chapman,

I want to thank you for agreeing with me. You may not think you have, but your criticism are not based on anything I said so are essentially "straw man" arguments. This mean that you agree that what I have said is correct. You correctly identified that capitalism is the issue. But it must be capitalism applied in the right way. You should read Niall Ferguson's book on Civilization to understand how capitalism differs from place to place even within European civilizations but especially between North and South America.

Yes, it will take time. No one said it won't. But unless one starts it will never happen. How it is implemented is the issue.

As far as who should take the migrants. Barack Obama as a young man correctly identified the inability of cultures to blend so the migrants should be sent to cultures that are close to their own. This is especially true of Muslims who culture is completely incompatible with Western civilization. It is best that they be relocated in cultures that are more similar to their own or other Muslim countries. Similarly with Latin American cultures. They should be relocated to other Latin cultures and not one that is foreign to them.

The US has 25% of the world's immigrants in the country. We have roughly 60 million people who do not speak English at home living in the United States. So 5% of the world's population is in the United States but has 25% of the immigrants. So it is hard to say anything but that the United States has been the most generous of all countries in terms of immigration. Whether that has been a good thing for the immigrants of the receiving population is hard to determine. It definitely has depressed wages at the lower end of the economic scale and that has not been good for poorer Americans.

John Walton
11 months ago

Just curious, how many folks emigrate to Haiti in any given year? Why are the Haitians in Haiti poor, but Haitians in NY and NJ living solid lower middle to upper-middle class incomes?

Just for the record, there are 1 million Haitian immigrants living in the US, half in Florida. Somewhow they manage to send $2.5 billion in remittances back to Haiti every year. Some-one with a four-function calculator tell me how much that is per capita?

GONZALO PALACIOS
11 months ago

Yes, we have an obligation to reject racist language. We should also avoid vulgar, obscene, sacrilegious and other forms of speech that denigrate the human condition. But the main individual and collective efforts should be made in the elimination of racism, which like Satan's Legions, attack and frequently control our families, our towns, and our countries, There is one way (only?) to eliminate racism: let Love reveal who you are. The Joy of Love is more than a papal encyclical: to love is to live, forever. AMDG, Gonzalo T. Palacios, PhD author of Mary the Unwed Mother of God.

Patrick Murtha
11 months ago

Mr. Durbin confirms, but Mr. Trump denies. Where is the proof of the vulgarity? Is the Post's say-so proof? Are we not to assume him innocent until proven guilty? That is Justice. Is not more required to prove guilt? Or is the modern notion of justice "guilt by accusation"?

It seems the editors find every chance they get to nitpick the president. It is equally odd that the headline here is "Reject Trump’s racist language and get back to policy-making on immigration"; I wonder what St. Ignatius would say to his modern Jesuits, possibly "Reject politics, and get back to saving souls."

Stanley Kopacz
11 months ago

High probability that he said it. It's like saying "I heard that duck quack". But what does it matter. This presidency has become the US version of the abomination of desolation.

John Walton
11 months ago

Two senators said that he didn't use the vulgar term, One senator said that he did -- I don't know where you took probability and statistics but the odds are 2:1 that he didn't/

Dionys Murphy
11 months ago

Multiple senators, including Republican senators, say he used the term. All one has to do is look at the record of those saying he said the term (people who tell the truth consistently) to those who said "I don't recall" (people with a record of lying to fit the circumstance). He said it.

rose-ellen caminer
11 months ago

As atrocious as his comments were, what gets me is Americans' erasing of history, and hypocrisy. As if Trumps comments are some anomaly in this country.He may be an anomaly as a president but his views and the language he uses are not anomalous. The reality is our right wing media including blogs and radio and cable t.v. have been full of such derogatory comments about foreign countries and people.This is nothing new but a standard way many Americans talk and think.Trump ran on banning Muslims and won. And today people ARE being banned from Muslims majority countries where there is a refugee crisis where the [ Sunni Muslim]people are suffering dire conditions of war and persecution. Policy makers, politicians , pundits and ordinary citizens not just Trump, say these are "failed states" where "people cannot be properly vetted". That is a variation on Trumps articulated theme; we don't want those people from those type countries here. Trump just let the American bigoted cat out of the bag , that's all.
America is and always has been a jingoistic country contemptuous of one group and country or another. And we label other nations tribal! The fact that we are comprised of people from all over world does not negate our tribalism or our bigotry though we tell ourselves it does. Trumps faux pas was that he did not stick to the acceptable racism; he was not talking about Middle Eastern or Muslim people, but Latinos and generic Africans. He did not get with the program; you can denigrate middle Eastern/ Muslim countries and people [ standard trope of right wing media] but only them.

Haitians are a different situation. Americans have always treated Haitians with contempt; remember the boat people sent back? Why such animus against Haitians? I am not sure but I suspect it is because Haitians are and have always been a politicized people. Left wing politicized people, that is. And the last thing right wing Americans want are left wing immigrants, who speak French/ Creole, not English or for that matter Spanish. no less.

James Haraldson
11 months ago

The blatantly false accusations of racist comments by America’s editors are all too believable. America magazine has a long history of antagonistic hysteria towards anyone popularly perceived as a threat to mythologies of progressive moral superiority, including its contrived ridiculous unfounded claim that Trump defended white supremacists marching in Charlottesville. He never did any such thing. There is such a thing as the Eighth Commandment. While condemning the racists, Trump defended the peaceful contingent of demonstrators who did not want any civil war statues forcibly vandalized.
Even in the very same opening paragraph of the current editorial, comments are affirmed as certain then later identified as “reported.” Of course they don’t bother to mention the White House discussions about how specific corrupt governments in Haiti and Africa were sending criminals under immigration programs, in a similar fashion to Castro intentionally sending criminals to America in the seventies, a practice that was even condemned in America magazine at that time. But America magazine has become little more than just another publication of left wing hate.

Mike McDermott
11 months ago

Well said, James Haraldson. Racism is a serious sin, and I would suggest accusations of racism based on innuendo or hearsay are also serious sins of gossip and defamation. President Trump can be called many things, but racist is not one of them.

Vincent Gaglione
11 months ago

I don’t envy the Jesuit editors of America magazine. If I am to believe the comments here, they are leftwing, Commie sycophants hellbent on destroying USA culture and values with exaggerated liberal Catholic viewpoints! I think that sums up pretty much what I read here. Who would want such opprobrium for expressing a point of view?

I detect, however, in so much of what I read here, and from a regular crew of writers, a couple of elements that are obvious:
The first is the premise that Jesuits at “America” are liberal Catholics, expansively so, who do not hold to a regimented Faith created in post-Reformation councils. The fact that the Jesuits served as the shock troops for the Roman Faith after the Reformation seems forgotten and lost on the writers here.
Second, I actually detect an abhorrence and genuine hate for these Jesuits. What prompts it? I have no knowledge of why but I feel it as I read some of the comments cast about here.

A writer to another article made the comment that he thought there are trolls who are using this website to foment controversy, distrust, and antipathy. Maybe so. I do wish that the site would acknowledge in the comments those who are subscribers and supporters. It would give some sense of the writers.

I attended a Jesuit high school from which they disposed of me rather quickly for failing three subjects in a semester with little regard for my personal circumstances. I think that I might have good cause to resent Jesuits. But I don’t. I have seen how they, like myself, have matured and evolved since my time in their school. That is what we want from all people. A maturity and recognition that change, moral change, is essential to Christian life. I get that from the Jesuits here, even if I don’t necessarily agree with all that they say. From some of the writers here, I don’t see that maturity and recognition, I don’t hear it, I don’t recognize it. And that disturbs me greatly.

Finally, as a kid who grew up in west Harlem in a Catholic elementary school with a very diverse population of students, I know a racist when I hear one. My family remained in the neighborhood long past the time many others left. People expressed that the "change" in the neighborhood was too much for them. The president's comments were racist and the fact of them, despite his and his cronies' weak attempts to distance him from them, can only be denied by the naïve or the perverse.

Stuart Meisenzahl
11 months ago

Vince
Good morning
As a product of 11 years of Jesuit education from the mid '50s to the mid '60s ( a period of cultural shock change) I can assure you that based on my observation/experience The Society in the U.S. is/ has been subject to and reflects the same discord and trends as affect the rest of the country.
I knew Jesuits who refused to teach women in the early '60s and and those who derogatorily referred to Blessed Paul VI , the successor to St John XXIII, as "THAT Montini", And let's not forget the great Boston Jesuit Heresy of "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus" put down by Cardinal Cushing in 1949 as contrasted with St John Paul II' s put down of the celebrated liberal Father Drinan in 1980.
Historically the essence of the Jesuit Philosophical Education has been that there are objective moral truths not subject to the ebb and flow of cultural whims, trends and tides. Some of those truths are based on God's Justice and others on God's Mercy. The former involves rules, norms and requirements and the latter forgiveness and understanding for violation of those rules and norms. As in all things theological our understanding of these concepts is limited and the subject of constant interpretation in the light of current events. And the objective truth centered Jesuit Philosophy not withstanding , the current crop of Jesuits engages in just such interpretation. Consequently it is not surprising that the political views of any given group of Jesuits will be reflected in their moralizationS . And it goes without saying that reaction to such interpretations is also based on the hearer's political views. Reflecting a view contrary to that of the Jesuit Editors does not evidence, as you suggest, a lack of mature evolvement.
As for your accusation of "racism" based on the use of the word "Sh#*thole", I suggest you see Father Martin's adopted use of exactly that term as a fulcrum for a contrary Immigration argument......See America Magazine, "Why we should welcome people from countries Trump just insulted". I note Father Martin refers to the "COUNTRIES Trump insulted" ......not people,
I note in passing that there was no uproar over Barack Obama' S reference to Libya as "a sh#*t show" (See Brookings April 12, 2016) There were no accusations of racism or even a challenge as to appropriateness.

Vincent Gaglione
11 months ago

Stuart,
As an elementary school teacher of all subjects, which included reading and listening and history, the operative word for discerning Trump's words and Trump is CONTEXT. Given the context of his past remarks about Haitians and Nigerians, the context of his remarks asking why we don't take more immigrants from Europe, the context of his "birtherism" tirades about Obama's birth certificate for many years, the fact that he was sued for civil rights violations as a landlord in Queens, NY, my gut and my mind persuade me that not only were his words "racist" as the editorial describes, but I have no compunctions in describing Trump as a racist. And unlike former Ambassador Andrew Young who argued this morning on Meet the Press that naming a person as a "racist" serves no redeeming different purpose than naming an alcoholic a "drunk," you'll forgive me a cliché, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck! I do hope he finds the way to redeem himself. I hope my naming him as such kickstarts the process for him. After 70+ years of life in a diverse society and his position as President of the United States, you'd think he might have matured into it, eh!

As for your history of the Jesuits versus the hierarchy and culture, etc, over the past 50 years, thanks for the review but it doesn't make a difference to my points that some people who comment here either revile Jesuits or think that all the Jesuits on "America" reflect the same liberal points of view. The materials that I read here are far more diverse than some would have us believe.

Vinny

Vincent Gaglione
11 months ago

PS...Stuart,
As for your comment about Obama's remark using a similar phrase, there is no evidence of CONTEXT in the historical record of Obama's behaviors and comments that would make me conclude that he was anything but vulgar at that particular moment. The Libyan situation was demonstrably disastrous for its people. Africa has a number of nations which are not as disastrous as Trump would have us believe. Besides, we are not talking about Obama. Or Hillary for that matter! They are out of office, non-scene. They are irrelevant to any discussions about Trump. Trump is near a year in office. He stands on his own. Referencing the kinds of rebuttals to be found on Fox or Limbaugh adds nothing to the discussion of the racist Trump.
Vinny

Stuart Meisenzahl
11 months ago

Vince
My PS to your PS
I believe I referenced Father Martin sJ and not Fox News or Rush Limbaugh. I suggest you read Father Martin's referenced article before you deflect.

rose-ellen caminer
11 months ago

So your complaint against Trump on this issue is that he did not confine his smear to Libya? A quibble over facts? Not a moral breach? And there are other failed or in dire straits African countries; perhaps any country with a medium income below x,[I. e. third world countries] fits his definition for s-hole]. I never met any Libyans but I would bet you that there are a lot of decent ,hard working even educated Libyans who would make model immigrants. How many war torn Libyans did Obama let in from what he labeled, along with Breitbart bloggers and the renown Ann Coulter[ we're more united then we claim] sans objection from anyone; a s- hole country?

Stuart Meisenzahl
11 months ago

Vince
Your first post attempted to use the Jesuit Editors as symbols of evolutionary rectitude in order to bolster your own pejorative viewpoint about many commentators in these pages. My reference to Jesuit history was to point out that Jesuits have been all over the lot on most issues of import over the past 50 years and they have long since abandoned their original post as "the shock troops of the Counter Reformation." You attempt to portray them as a-political when since they abandoned the ramparts of St Andrew's On The Hudson they in fact have become perhaps the most political of the religious orders. Many Jesuits of today seem to think Christianity only really began after the Second Vatican Council. And your compliment to the.Jesuits on their evolution in maturity which you claim is similar to your own evolution certainly reflects that same attitude. I do not mean to imply that there is a uniform homogeneity of Jesuit political views but I certainly assert that the liberal wing of the Jesuits is most assuredly in firm control of America Magazine

You have to go back at least 30 years in the history of America Magazine to find anything resembling a Jesuit Editor who did not consider himself among the vanguard of Social Justice Warriors. The lack of a balanced critique of the liberal left in these pages is as offensive as their unremitting assault on anything deemed right wing ....except for Abortion which is the great moral political teeter totter that America Magazine is constantly trying to balance. Joe Biden is celebrated in these pages as a great and true example of Catholicism precisely because of his progressive views and yet his views on abortion "as a personal matter" is blithely passed over. If that issue is challenged It is promptly excused by the apathetic dodge that one should not impose his moral views on a pluralistic society. As I recall the current Pope has vociferously condemned both racism and abortion. Somehow I don't think that Dante' s inferno will dish out the same punishment for racism as it will for abortion.

James Haraldson
10 months 4 weeks ago

The fact that today's Western Jesuits, as distinct from those in the third world with whom I've done missionary work, are the polar opposite in beliefs and values of the "shock troops" of the post Reformation era seems to be lost on you. And no one contends apostasy is unique to Jesuits. But to deny the pervasiveness of Catholic anti-Catholic bigotry is like standing at the bottom of the ocean and denying the existence of dampness.

JOSEPH D'ANNA
11 months ago

Stay the course America magazine. Most of the comments to this article demonstrate that the US is clearly not a "Christian nation". It seems like the unbecoming "ugly American" stereotype remains strong in the readership or among the internet trolls.

Steve Magnotta
11 months ago

Well said, Anne Chapman and Gonzalo Palacios. Amen.
And thanks to The Editors.
Prayers for this character in The Oval Office and for those, who in their blindness, support him.

John Walton
11 months ago

Dick Durbin has gremlins which speak to his brain, had to walk this one back -- from CNN October 24, 2013:

"The disputed story - first shared publicly on his campaign Facebook page by the Senate’s number two Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois - that an unidentified senior House Republican leader during negotiations over the debt ceiling and partial government shutdown told President Obama, “I cannot even stand to look at you,” made its way from the White House to the Senate via White House deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors, sources tell CNN.

Nabors told the story to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, Durbin, and the two other Senate Democratic leaders, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, on Tuesday October 15, sources tell CNN. Reid then told the story to the entire Senate Democratic caucus, sources in the room at the time tell CNN, identifying the House Republican leader as Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, who denies the story. Durbin posted it on his campaign Facebook page without mentioning Sessions' name.

Sessions isn’t the only one who denies it; on Wednesday White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked about it at his daily briefing and said, “I looked into it and spoke with somebody who was in the meeting and it did not happen.”

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