Nearly 48 hours after President Trump came under intense media fire for allegedly using “sh-thole” to label some Third World countries, the only person so far claiming to have actually heard it is Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL).
Given his bizarre and extreme history, should he be believed?
Since yesterday, many news outlets have used words like “confirmed” “verified” and “rebuked” to lend credibility to Durbin’s account of what happened during a bipartisan meeting intended to reach a compromise over immigration reform.
Here’s how CNN presented Durbin’s claims as if they were factual:
In a news conference, Durbin, who had been in the White House meeting where the comments were made, described Trump’s words as “hate filled, vile and racist” and told reporters.
Durbin described his shock when hearing Trump’s words.
“I cannot believe that in the history of the White House, in the Oval Office, any president has ever spoken words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday,” Durbin said.
“He said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly,” said Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate.
As Breitbart noted earlier, however, Durbin has previously used the same immigration-related terminology he is now deriding as racist.
And Durbin has previously concocted fake quotes attributed to political opponents, such as a disturbing 2010 incident where he claimed a top Republican leader told President Obama that “I cannot stand to look at you”.
In that instance, it took an outright denial from the Obama White House to stop him from pushing the allegations further.
Especially interesting is the language Durbin used at the time and how similar it is to this week’s assertions: “What are the chances of an honest conversation with someone who has just said something so disrespectful?”
In 2005, the Illinois Democrat also came under fire for describing US troops as “Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or some mad regime – Pol Pot or others – that had no concern for human beings.”
Given this background, how can his claims be taken seriously?