David Perdue of Georgia told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that reports have misrepresented the president's comments during a meeting on immigration on Thursday.
“I’m telling you he did not use that word, George,” said Perdue, who was among the senators at the meeting with Trump. “And I’m telling you it’s a gross misrepresentation.”
Stephanopoulos pressed Perdue, saying that multiple sources have confirmed the president’s language, of whom the most outspoken has been Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois.
“Multiple sources? There were six of us in the room,” Perdue responded to Stephanopoulos. “I haven’t heard any of those six sources other than Senator Durbin talk about what was said.”
Perdue also seemed to question Sen. Durbin’s intentions, saying “it is not the first time” that the Illinois senator has accused someone of inflammatory language.
“In 2013, Senator Durbin also made the same accusation against a Republican leader in a meeting with President Obama, and said that ... he chewed out the president, it was so disrespectful to President Obama, we couldn’t even have the meeting,” Perdue said.
“That’s what he (Durbin) said in 2013. Later that day, the president’s own press secretary came out and said, and I quote, 'It did not happen.' This is about a gross misrepresentation. It’s not the first time.”
Durbin's communications director tweeted a response to Perdue's apparent questioning of the credibility of the Illinois senator's account of what Trump said.
Credibility is something that’s built over time, Durbin spokesman Ben Marter tweeted. "Senator Durbin has it. Senator Perdue does not. Ask anyone who’s dealt with both."
Credibility is something that’s built by being consistently honest over time. Senator Durbin has it. Senator Perdue does not. Ask anyone who’s dealt with both. https://t.co/x6nKnp8H05— Ben Marter (@BenMarter) January 14, 2018
Perdue maintained on "This Week" that the focus on what Trump allegedly said was being used to prevent any deals on immigration.
“These people have been trying for 35 years to solve this immigration problem without success, for one reason, and that is I don’t believe they’re serious about trying to solve that right now,” Perdue said.