Republican Rep. Mia Love said Sunday that “she can't defend the indefensible” when it comes to the president’s vulgar remarks referring to immigration from African nations and comments on whether the U.S. needed more Haitian immigrants.
"I can't defend the indefensible. You have to understand that there are countries that struggle out there but ... their people are good people and they're part of us,” Love, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, said on CNN’s "State of the Union" Sunday.
When asked if she thought President Donald Trump’s reported description of African nations as "shithole countries" during a meeting on immigration with lawmakers was racist, the Utah lawmaker replied that they were.
"I think they were, yes. I think they were unfortunate,” she said. "I wasn't in the room. I know the comments were made. I don't know in which context they were made."
“I'm looking forward to finding out what happened, but more importantly, I'm looking forward to fixing the problem,” she said. “We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”
Love said that she still believed the president should apologize.
“I think that there are people that are looking for an apology and I think that that would show real leadership,” she said.
She added that “one of the things we need to do is get people like me in the room.”
“Frankly, I want to just make sure that everyone knows that I don’t know if those comments would’ve been made if I were actually in the room,” she said.
Love, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Haiti, said that the remarks were “really difficult to hear, especially because my parents were such big supporters of the president and I think that we have to do everything we can to make sure that we’re coming from a place of compassion and we’re speaking from a place of kindness.”
Love had previously released a statement saying Trump's remarks were "unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation's values."
International outrage against the comment grew on Saturday, with leaders from African nations slamming the remarks.
Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo tweeted Saturday that the language was “extremely unfortunate” and added, “We are certainly not a 'shithole country.'"
The White House did not initially deny that the president made the remarks during the bipartisan immigration meeting, but as backlash grew from members of congress, Trump on Friday denied that he used the insulting language.
"The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used," Trump tweeted. "What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made — a big setback for DACA!"
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Friday that he heard Trump repeatedly refer to African countries as "shitholes" at a meeting they both attended the day before.
Lawmakers had been speaking about immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti who have temporary protected status in the U.S. due to disasters and political upheaval in their home countries when the president interrupted, Durbin said.
"He said, 'Haitians? Do we need more Haitians?' And then he went on when we started to describe the immigration from Africa that was being protected in this bipartisan measure. That's when he used these vile and vulgar comments, calling the nations they come from 'shitholes,'" Durbin said. "The exact word used by the president, not just once, but repeatedly."