Jan. 11 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Thursday questioned why people from "shithole countries" -- Haiti, El Salvador and African nations -- come to the United States, unnamed sources briefed on the meeting said.
He made the comments during an Oval Office meeting with bipartisan senators about an immigration deal, sources briefed on the meeting told The Washington Post. A Democratic aide confirmed the comments to the NBC News.
Some of the lawmakers proposed restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African nations. Earlier this week, the administration removed temporary protected status for nearly 200,000 Salvadorans, and in November ended protected status for 50,000 Haitians living in the United States since a 2010 earthquake,
"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump purportedly said.
The president said the United States should have more immigrants from countries like Norway. Trump met Wednesday with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
The sources told the Post some lawmakers were taken aback by Trump's remarks.
White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah did not explicitly confirm or deny Trump's comments in a statement he issued after the initial Post report.
"He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway," Shah said.
The immigration deal proposed during the meeting sought a restoration of status for El Salvador and Haiti, while adding money needed to build a wall along the border with Mexico. Aides said Trump appeared to agree with the deal earlier in the day, but became frustrated with it during the meeting.