Republican senator asserts Trump did not say ‘s—hole’

(ABC News) — A Republican senator said President Donald Trump did not use the word “s—hole” in reference to immigrants from Haiti and Africa in a meeting at the White House last week.

Sen. David Perdue of Georgia told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that reports have misrepresented the president’s comments during a meeting on immigration on Thursday.

“I’m telling you he did not use that word, George,” said Perdue, who was among the senators at the meeting with Trump. “And I’m telling you it’s a gross misrepresentation.”

Stephanopoulos pressed Perdue, saying that multiple sources have confirmed the president’s language, of whom the most outspoken has been Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois.

Related Content: Trump defends ‘tough’ language used in DACA meeting after ‘s—hole countries’ comment

“Multiple sources? There were six of us in the room,” Perdue responded to Stephanopoulos. “I haven’t heard any of those six sources other than Senator Durbin talk about what was said.”

Perdue also seemed to question Sen. Durbin’s intentions, saying “it is not the first time” that the Illinois senator has accused someone of inflammatory language.

“In 2013, Senator Durbin also made the same accusation against a Republican leader in a meeting with President Obama, and said that … he chewed out the president, it was so disrespectful to President Obama, we couldn’t even have the meeting,” Perdue said.

“That’s what he (Durbin) said in 2013. Later that day, the president’s own press secretary came out and said, and I quote, ‘It did not happen.’ This is about a gross misrepresentation. It’s not the first time.”

Related Content: Trump decries immigrants from ‘(expletive) countries coming to U.S.

Sen. Perdue seems to be referring to a Facebook post Sen. Durbin made in response to a 2013 negotiation meeting between GOP leaders and then-President Barack Obama. In the post, Sen. Durbin wrote, “In a ‘negotiation’ meeting with the president, one GOP House Leader told the president: ‘I cannot even stand to look at you.’”

Sen. Durbin was not present at the meeting in question, and did not clarify in his post the context of the meeting, how the president responded, or even which leader allegedly made the comment.

The post raised tension between the White House and Sen. Durbin when both the White House and the speaker’s office denied Sen. Durbin’s account. Sen. Durbin removed the post after the White House said a miscommunication occurred when they gave a bad quote during a read-out of the meeting to Senate Democrats.

Durbin’s communications director tweeted a response to Perdue’s apparent questioning of the credibility of the Illinois senator’s account of what Trump said.

Credibility is something that’s built over time, Durbin spokesman Ben Marter tweeted. “Senator Durbin has it. Senator Perdue does not. Ask anyone who’s dealt with both.”

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