In a swift response to reports on Thursday that President Trump questioned why the U.S. should permit more immigrants from "shithole" countries, the Congressional Black Congress criticized Trump, adding that his slogan 'Make America Great Again' is really code for "Make America White Again".
The AP report says senators discussed revamping rules affecting entrants from Africa and Haiti as part of a bipartisan compromise to extend immigrant protections, but also to strengthen border control.
Three people were briefed on the Oval Office conversation. The White House did not deny the comment.
During the conversation Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the chamber's No. 2 ranking Democratic leader explained how the changes would negatively impact Africa.
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.
In the caucuses call out, they not only refer to what they call Trump's "racist policies" but demand an end any efforts to end the Diversity Visa Program, which benefits immigrants from Africa.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein weighed in on Twitter, calling Trump's comments "disgusting" and that they diminish America's standing in the world.
The Chairman of the caucus, Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA) released the following statement:
"President Trump's comments are yet another confirmation of his racially insensitive and ignorant views. It also reinforces the concerns that we hear every day, that the President's slogan Make America Great Again is really code for Make America White Again.
"All of the reservations we have had about negotiating with him on immigration are well-founded. President Trump is clearly more concerned with ending the future flow of immigrants from Africa and the African diaspora than providing relief to Dreamers who came here through no fault of their own. Unfortunately there is no reason to believe tht we can negotiate in good faith with a person who holds such vile and reprehensible beliefs.
"Months ago, President Trump committed to sign the Dream Act into law if it included enhanced border security measures. Sadly the President has injected his racist policies into these negotiations, mainly his unreasonable demands to completely end the Diversity Visa Program. This program greatly benefits immigrants from African countries and provides an opportunity for them to achieve the American Dream. Now that his true motivations are clear, the Congressional Black Caucus calls on all Members of Congress, including those negotiating on the immigration deal, to reject any and all efforts to end the Diversity Visa Program."
Wire copy from Associated Press is included in this report