Trump made the comments during an immigration meeting with Durbin and six Republican lawmakers: Sens.
United States President Donald Trump has expressed frustration over efforts of some USA lawmakers to protect immigrants from Haiti and African countries, asking why America should accept citizens from "shithole" countries, triggering protests.
Sean Penn slammed President Trump's "disgraceful" comments about immigrants from Haiti and Africa in an op-ed for Time published on the eighth anniversary of the devastating 2010 Haiti natural disaster.
"What Trump is doing has popped up periodically, but in modern times, no president has been so racially insensitive and shown outright disdain for people who aren't white", said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian.
He has characterised Mexican immigrants as "rapists", repeatedly questioned the loyalty of Muslim immigrants, denounced NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem in protest at police brutality against African Americans, and made questionable comments about a violent white supremacist rally.
On Friday he denied using that language.
On Friday, Mr Trump also tweeted: "Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country", and claimed: "I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians". That openly concedes that Trump wants fewer people from those countries here.
El Salvador slammed them as "deplorable". And what the president and many of his supporters fail to grasp is that ours is the most dynamic country on Earth precisely because of the courageous, entrepreneurial, risk-taking, ambitious people we attract.
MA state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry called the president's words racist and "an affront to decency and to history".
"You can not dismiss entire countries and continents as "shitholes", whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome", said United Nations human rights spokesman Rupert Colville.
Some members of Trump's party as insensitive, and many Democrats simply called them "racist".
Trump told lawmakers that the US should instead seek out more immigrants from countries like Norway.
The 55-nation African Union condemned the remarks yesterday, while a statement from ambassadors of all countries from the continent at the United Nations demanded a retraction and apology.
"Given the historical reality of how African Americans arrived in the United States as slaves, and the United States being the biggest example of how a nation has been built by migration - for a statement like that to come is particularly upsetting", AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said. It's good that it's now safe to say this on prime time television, but we already knew that.
Botswana summoned the U.S. ambassador to the country to "clarify if Botswana is regarded as a "shithole" country", according to a foreign ministry statement which called Trump's comments "irresponsible, reprehensible and racist".
"The Trump era.is a direct assault on the legacy of Dr. King", said the Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer, where King preached for the last eight years of his life.
The actor, who founded the J/P Haitian Relief Organization, recalled spending months working as one of 30 volunteers who helped the Haitian people rebuild the country following the deadly disaster.
"This is what I would like President Trump to do: Don't let the King Holiday find you using your Twitter account in an inappropriate way", Bernice King told The Associated Press in an interview.
Durbin also recounted a "heartbreaking moment" when Trump and others "scoffed" at his comments about the importance of family-based immigration.
"This is no different from what Hollywood and Western media have been saying about Africa for decades".