On Thursday, in a meeting with a senators and House members on immigration, the President of the United States, asked this: “Why do we want all these people from ‘shithole countries’ coming here?”
Yes, he said “shithole countries” — apparently in reference to the fact that immigrants from places like El Salvador, Haiti and Africa were being protected in a potential bipartisan deal to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and secure funding for border security.
What’s even more appalling is that the White House didn’t even try to deny that Trump used that slur, which was first reported in The Washington Post. In fact, in a lengthy statement from White House spokesman Raj Shah, the administration seemed to even defend the sentiment. “Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” said Shah.
Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday. The president, according to a White House official, also suggested he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries because he felt they help the United States economically.
In addition, the president singled out Haiti, telling lawmakers that immigrants from that country must be left out of any deal, these people said.
“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.”
The president’s remarks were quickly met with scorn from Democrats and some Republicans and could throw another wrench into bipartisan discussions on immigration, which had shown promise in recent days, according to legislators.
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) said the comments “will shake the confidence that people have” in the ongoing immigration policy talks.
“Democrats and Republicans in the Senate made a proposal. The answer is this racist outburst of the president. How can you take him seriously?” Gutiérrez said. “They [Republicans] don’t believe in immigration — it’s always been about people of color and keeping them out of this country.”
Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said on Twitter that Trump’s remarks “are further proof that his Make America Great Again Agenda is really a Make America White Again agenda.”
Some Republicans also raised objections. Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah), whose family is from Haiti, said in a statement that Trump’s remarks were “unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values. This behavior is unacceptable from the leader of our nation.”