Trump pushes back: 'No, I'm not a racist'

After days of controversy, the president explicitly denied making racially charged remarks during a meeting
2:41 | 01/16/18

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Transcript for Trump pushes back: 'No, I'm not a racist'
the firestorm surrounding president trump and that profane comments he made. Overnight, the president defending himself, saying, "I'm not a racist, I'm the least racist person you have ever interviewed." ABC's chief white house correspondent Jonathan Karl tonight. Reporter: Consumed for days by the controversy over racially-charged remarks said behind closed doors, the president is now pushing back hard. No, no, I'm not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. That I can tell you. Reporter: And he's now explicitly denying what several sources say he said in that meeting with members of congress on Thursday -- a vulgar slur aimed at African countries -- and that he said he'd prefer immigrants from Norway. Did you see what various senators in the room said about my comments? They weren't made. Reporter: One of those senators is dick Durbin, who today still insisted the president made the vulgar, racially-charged insult. I know what happened. I stand behind every word that I said in terms of that meeting. Reporter: That has even earned the senator a new presidential nickname. "Senator dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting," the president tweeted today. But two Republican senators at the meeting, who three days ago said, "We do not recall the president saying these comments specifically," are now denying the president made the offensive remarks. I didn't hear it, and I was sitting no further away from Donald Trump than dick Durbin was. I'm telling you he did not use that word. Reporter: But what word? Now there's even some of a debate over how the profanity used by the president ended. My understanding from the meeting, he used a different, but very closely related vulgarity. He said s-house, and not s-hole. Reporter: And a third Republican senator at the meeting, Lindsay graham, who stood up to the president at that meeting and called Durbin's characterization of the president's comments, quote "Basically accurate" is not changing his account, saying his memory hasn't evolved. What I heard, I didn't like. I will work with him and I will stand up to him. Jonathan Karl with us live at the white house tonight. Jon, the president has made it very clear that a deal to protect dreamers is now indoubt. He says because of this controversy over his words. Today actually tweeting that deals can't get made when there is no trust. So, where does this all stand tonight, what are your sources now telling you? Reporter: Well, David, with all the name-calling, it does look grim, but I have talked to both Democrats and Republicans involved in these negotiations today who have told me that they still believe a deal can be worked out. Those talks resume tomorrow. Another week begins at the white house. Jon Karl, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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