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Story highlights

Rep. Mia Love is the first Haitian-American elected to Congress

"The (President's) comments ... fly in the face of our nation's values," Love said

(CNN) —  

Republican Rep. Mia Love of Utah called on President Donald Trump to apologize Thursday for his reported comments criticizing immigrants coming to the United States from what he called “shithole countries.”

“The (President’s) comments are unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values,” Love said in a statement Thursday night. “The President must apologize to both the American people and the nations he so wantonly maligned.”

Trump asked lawmakers during an Oval Office meeting on immigration reform, “why do we want all these people from ‘shithole countries’ coming here?” a source briefed on the meeting told CNN.

The source said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin was explaining to him a proposal to end the visa lottery in exchange for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for countries such as El Salvador. Durbin was going through a list of TPS countries that would be covered. When he got to Haiti, Trump asked why the US wants more people from Haiti and African countries.

The Washington Post first reported on Trump’s comments in the Oval Office meeting, which the Post said “shocked” lawmakers in attendance.

Love, the first Haitian-American elected to Congress, whose parents immigrated to the US in the 1970s, went on to detail her family’s ties to one of the countries that was maligned by Trump.

“My parents came from one of those countries but proudly took an oath of allegiance to the United States and took on the responsibilities of everything that being a citizen comes with. They never took a thing from our federal government,” Love said in the statement. “They worked hard, paid taxes, and rose from nothing to take care of and provide opportunities for their children. They taught their children to do the same. That’s the American Dream.” 

Love isn’t the only Republican from Utah responding to Trump’s reported comments.

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, of Utah, said in response to the vulgar remark, “I look forward to getting a more detailed explanation regarding the President’s comments. Part of what makes America so special is that we welcome the best and brightest in the world, regardless of their country of origin.”