Donald Trump said he does not care what black members of Congress think about immigration, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
During a tense Oval Office meeting Thursday — in which Trump said he didn’t want immigrants from “shithole countries” entering the U.S. — the president dismissed calls by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin to hear the concerns of the influential Congressional Black Caucus, according to the newspaper.
Durbin told Trump the CBC would more likely get on board with legislation if certain countries were selected for proposed immigration protections.
According to people familiar with the meeting, Trump was “curt and dismissive,” saying he was not going to alter policy to cater to the CBC and that he "did not particularly care about that bloc’s demands."
The report details a strained meeting dominated by cross-talk and swearing in which Durbin and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham unveiled their deal to help immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
Trump was initially open to their proposal, and even told the conservative House Freedom Caucus to work with the Democrats on the legislation.
But advisers within the White House, notably Stephen Miller and Chief of Staff John Kelly, argued Durbin and Graham were tricking Trump into signing a bill that would be unpopular with his base, according to the report.
As such, Durbin and Graham were met in the Oval Office by GOP immigration hardliners, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, and Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue, who had already convinced Trump to drop the proposal.
Trump on Sunday sought to pin the failure of immigration talks on Democrats in a series of tweets.
Cotton also said Democrats would be to blame for a shutdown, ignoring the fact that Republicans currently hold all three branches of government.
Debate has raged over the president’s racism in the days since the White House meeting was first reported.
Speaking on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, King’s eldest son, said: “When a president insists that our nation needs more citizens from white states like Norway, I don’t even think we need to spend any time even talking about what it says and what it is.”