BOSTON, MA (WBZ-AM) -- There is heavy criticism for President Donald J. Trump after used a vulgar word to describe countries like Haiti, El Salvador and African nations during a bi-partisan Oval Office meeting on immigration Thursday.
During the meeting, with several lawmakers, The President reportedly complained about why the U.S. needs to accept immigrants from those "shithole" countries -- adding that instead, more people should be brought in from places like Norway.
Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin was at the meeting and confirmed the reports about the President's remarks.
Other lawmakers in the room have said they did not hear The President say those words.
Trump tweeted Friday morning that he used some tough language but not the language that was attributed to him.
Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said “take them out.” Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made - a big setback for DACA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
Later at a White House event honoring late Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr., Trump stuck to a script and ignoring questions being shouted at him from the press corps about whether he is a racist if he would be planning on issuing an apology.
Locally in New England Haitians and politicians voiced their concerns.
Jean Falaise has run a Haitian restaurant in Somerville for 27 years.
He tells WBZ NewsRadio1030 that came to the U.S. from Haiti as a young man and says he worked hard to get to where he is today.
"I feel like I am a good worker and work hard in this country and I feel proud to be a Haitian-American," Falaise said.
Massachusetts State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, a first generation descendant of Haitian immigrants representing the First Suffolk District, issued a statement.
She also tells WBZ NewsRadio1030's Carl Stevens that the Presidents so called statements show a lack of understanding.
"It just shows the lack of understanding I would say on his part...but it's really using these hurtful words that are ignorant and repulsive that are damaging to our democracy," Dorcena Forry said "I hope that we as a Americans, you know that we will stand up and say something and It's not just me as a Haitian-American but we want everyone saying that: 'this is not us and this is not our values,'" she said.
Dr. Gary Gottleib, CEO of Partners in Health, a Boston based non-profit which has for years, dedicated time and resources to healthcare work in Haiti and Africa tells WBZ NewsRadio1030's Josh Binswanger that he's horrified at the President's remarks and that they don't reflect the character of the many people his organization had done work with.
In the 30 years we've been working alongside the Haitian people, we've seen firsthand the extraordinary resilience that our patients and staff have shown in the face of unimaginable hardship. We're proud to support them.— Partners In Health (@PIH) January 12, 2018
"Eugh..I'm horrified and deeply saddened, these kinds of comments do not in anyway reflect the extraordinary people we've had the privilege to work with for more than three decades," Gottleib said.
He also says that people from those countries will feel confused by Trumps remarks.
"I think they'll be confused, I think they can't possibly understand how outrageous his comments are," he said. "These are people who love their children as much as we love ours who have enormous creativity and talent who face challenges that we can't even imagine with remarkable courage and anyone who sees and understands those people will take a step back and stand on what they bring to us it's richness greatness," he said.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, tells WBZ NewsRadio1030's Lana Jones that the remarks by the President were "uncalled for" and hopes that the people around the President can convince him that comments like this hurt people.
"Those comments are appalling and disgraceful and have no place anywhere in public or private discourse --period," he said.
Charlie Baker said that it was Haitian immigrants who cared for his mother in her final days and praised other immigrants who are part of the Commonwealth's fabric.
"I am enormous grateful for the culture and the humanity and frankly the enterprise and the love that a lot of those folks have for Massachusetts," he said.
Local politicians took to Twitter as well.
What makes our city, state and country strong is diversity. We need to respect and welcome all -- no exceptions. 8 years after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, we stand in solidarity with Haiti, and celebrate its enormous contributions to Boston. pic.twitter.com/VA5f3wPdfG— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) January 12, 2018
NH Senator Maggie Hassan
Disgraceful. These comments do not represent America and they are an affront to the inclusive values that make us strong. https://t.co/xCZ9yeIfZh— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) January 12, 2018
On Twitter Senator Ed Markey said that This isn’t just un-presidential and un-American, it’s inhumane. @realDonaldTrump’s comments do not represent how most Americans feel. It appears as if the color of money isn’t the only color @realDonaldTrump cares about. These are words of hate and we must condemn them on many sides.
I could call @realDonaldTrump’s comments racist, vile and disgusting because that is what they are. But I also want to tell you about Joe Freddy Francois because immigrants from Haiti, Africa and everywhere else are an integral part of the American fabric.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) January 12, 2018
Stay with WBZ NewsRadio1030 as this story develops.
WBZ's Josh Binswanger, Carl Stevens, Lana Jones and 24/7 News Source contributed to this report.
Listen to Massachusetts State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry interview on WBZ NewsRadio1030