Mike Pence defends Trump’s alleged ‘shithole’ comments: ‘I know the president’s heart’ – National


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JERUSALEM — U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence on Monday defended President Donald Trump over his latest feedback disparaging immigration from Africa and Haiti, telling The Related Press that the president’s “coronary heart” is geared toward a merit-based system that’s blind to immigrants’ “race or creed.”

Pence, in an interview with the AP from Jerusalem, stated the president was intent on implementing a merit-based system that encourages immigration by those that will “contribute to a rising American economic system and thriving communities.”

READ MORE: Mike Pence lands in Israel on go to overshadowed by Donald Trump’s Jerusalem declaration

“I do know the president’s coronary heart and I do know that what President Trump needs to do is reform immigration to make our system one which places the pursuits of America first,” Pence stated. He added that immigrants needs to be thought-about on their deserves, “no matter what nation they arrive from or what their race and creed is.”

He was responding to experiences that Trump, in a non-public assembly with legislators earlier this month, challenged immigration from “shithole” African nations, disparaged Haiti and stated the U.S. ought to welcome extra immigrants from nations like Norway.

The vice-president additionally dismissed an grownup movie star’s account of a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006, questioning its validity.

WATCH: Israel-Arab lawmakers heckle Mike Pence in parliament

“I’m simply not going to touch upon the most recent baseless allegations in opposition to the president,” Pence stated.

“My focus is on serving the president, advancing the priorities of the administration, advancing American pursuits and that’s the place it should keep.”

The Wall Road Journal final week reported that Trump’s private lawyer brokered a fee to pornographic actress Stormy Daniels in October 2016 to ban her from publicly discussing the alleged affair earlier than the presidential election.

Daniels’ actual identify is Stephanie Clifford. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, has denied there was any relationship. He gave the Journal an announcement from an individual recognized as Stormy Daniels denying receiving “hush cash.”

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The AP reported tabloid journal held again from publishing her 2011 account of their relationship after Cohen threatened to sue.

Pence, on a four-day go to to the Center East whereas Washington grapples with a authorities shutdown, stated within the AP interview that he was “hopeful that Democrats within the Senate will see their manner clear to reopen the federal government.”

Hours later, after a Senate settlement was reached to finish the shutdown, Pence stated alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the deadlock was ending “because of the agency stand taken by President Trump” and congressional Republicans.

“The Schumer shutdown failed,” Pence stated, referring to Senate Minority Chief Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

WATCH: Pence arrives in Israel on go to overshadowed by Trump’s Jerusalem declaration

Pence spoke to the AP after delivering to the Knesset a significant tackle through which he introduced Trump’s plans to expedite the transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the top of subsequent yr. He was the primary sitting American vice-president to handle the parliamentary physique.

Pence stated he had obtained no blowback from world leaders over Trump’s immigration feedback.

“I simply assume leaders all over the world admire the president’s renewed engagement. He appreciates the relationships that he’s cast with them,” Pence stated.

A variety of world leaders publicly denounced the feedback as racist.

Related Press author Catherine Lucey in Washington contributed to this report.

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