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White House Denies President Trump’s Alleged Remarks About Haitian, Nigerian Immigrants

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The White House continued to push back Sunday against a recent New York Times report that detailed offensive comments President Donald Trump allegedly made about immigrants from Nigeria and Haiti, with the legislative director disputing the remarks had ever been made.

“The people in the meeting say those comments never happened, so I have no belief that that actually transpired,” White House Legislative Director Marc Short said on Fox News Sunday.

Short said that he himself was not in the meeting where the comments reportedly occurred, but had no reason to doubt the accounts of those who were denying the comments.

The Times reported on Saturday that in June, the President, expressing his dissatisfaction with the number of immigrants who had entered the country since January, said that the 15,000 people who had come from Haiti ““all have AIDS,” and that the 40,000 who had come from Nigeria would never “go back to their huts” in Africa once they saw the United States. The Times report cited six officials who had attended or were briefed on the meeting. Two officials who had attended the meeting or had been briefed were cited regarding these specific comments.

The officials were not identified in the Times report.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied the comments on Saturday.

“General Kelly, General McMaster, Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Nielsen and all other senior staff actually in the meeting deny these outrageous claims,” she told the Times. “It’s both sad and telling The New York Times would print the lies of their anonymous ‘sources’ anyway.”

The Trump administration announced in November it was ending temporary protected status for Haitians, which enabled over 50,000 to live and work in the country legally. If they do not leave by July 2019, they will face the prospect of deportation.

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Write to Alana Abramson at Alana.Abramson@time.com