Along with calling Mexicans rapists, referring to protesting Black NFL players as sons of bitches and describing Neo-Nazis as fine people after the Charlottesville protests — to name a few racist comments — President Donald Trump has now insulted Haiti, El Salvador and African nations by calling them “shithole countries.”
Trump made his white supremacist constituency proud on Thursday at the White House as Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham briefed him on a bipartisan immigration deal, which includes potentially restoring protections for immigrants from countries who had temporary protected status.
He singled out Haiti.
“Why do we need more Haitians?” the president of the United States said, according to The Washington Post. “Take them out.”
While discussing changes to the visa lottery system, he said, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
Trump thinks that white Norwegians can make America great again. At the meeting, according to reports, he said the U.S. should bring in more people from Norway, and perhaps people from Asian countries because he said they might help America economically.
Friday morning on Twitter, Trump issued a denial of calling Haiti a “shithole,” but did not deny calling African nations the derogatory term. “I have a wonderful relationship with the Haitians,” he said.
The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said “take them out.” Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
Sen. Durbin confirmed Friday that Trump made the “shithole” remark.
“He said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly,” Durbin said during a press conference at an MLK breakfast.
And, on Thursday, the White House did not deny the Post’s account of Trump’s remarks.
“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” spokesman Raj Shah said.
“ … Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.”
‘This behavior is unacceptable from the leader of our nation’
Republican U.S. Rep. Mia Love, a daughter of Haitian immigrants, said in a statement Thursday posted on Twitter that his comments were “unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values” and called on Trump to apologize.
Here is my statement on the President’s comments today: pic.twitter.com/EdtsFjc2zL
— Rep. Mia Love (@RepMiaLove) January 11, 2018
“When President Trump made his statements today, as a Haitian American, I wasn’t shocked at all,” Lucien Metellus, 42, a senior business analyst based in New Jersey and son of Haitian immigrants, told DiversityInc on Thursday. “I don’t need this one incident to show me that he’s racist. I have enough history that shows it for me.
“This is the Donald Trump that I’ve known of since the ‘80s when he put an ad out to convict the Central Park Five, who were later proven innocent. These are the kinds of historical things that we knew about Donald Trump before he became president.
“My mom came to the U.S. from Haiti in her 20s with my dad. They got married. They have bought houses. My dad started his own business in Florida. My mom owns a house in Queens, N.Y. My aunt is a pharmacist from Haiti. My other aunt, who passed away, was a physical therapist.
“They all came from Haiti, and they all did what they needed to do to be successful. They didn’t give any excuses. Trump has this misconception that Black and Latino people are lazy.
“Let’s be honest, it was the economic structures that were put in place to oppress people of the Latino and Caribbean diaspora that has created the systematic poverty that we see. They did not put themselves in these positions.”
Trump does not want the U.S. to accept immigrants from predominantly Black and Latino countries. This week, he moved to end the status for immigrants from El Salvador, which could result in 200,000 Salvadorans legally in the country being deported, beginning in September of next year.
In November, the Trump administration ended the status for immigrants from Haiti and Nicaragua. It gave the roughly 59,000 Haitian immigrants who had been granted the status until July 2019 to return home or legalize their presence in the United States. Nicaraguans have until January 2019.
Paul Altidor, Haiti’s ambassador to the U.S., called Trump’s comments an “assault on Haitian people and the country’s history.”
Haiti is the world’s first free Black republic.
“Haitians fought along U.S. soldiers in the Revolutionary War and we continue to be great contributors to American society,” Altidor said, according to PBS NewsHour White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor.
Activist Michael Skolnik posted a photo of a statue that pays tribute to the soldiers from Haiti who fought against the British in 1779 at the Battle of Savannah.
In 1779, About 800 soldiers from Haiti fought during the Revolutionary War at the Battle of Savannah.
A statue pays tribute to these brave men who helped our country gain its independence from the British. 🇭🇹 pic.twitter.com/3PHmNSBf3t
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) January 12, 2018
Altidor also said that the Haitian government has formally summoned a U.S. official to explain Trump’s comments to Haiti’s officials. Friday marks Haiti’s national day of remembrance of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the country Jan. 12, 2010.
— Embassy of Haiti (@EmbassyOfHaiti) January 11, 2018
“Protests are not going to change Trump’s mind,” Metellus told DiversityInc.
“What Haitian American voters should do is go out and vote in the midterms, vote in the presidential election because Caribbean Americans did have a lower turnout in 2016 than they did historically. So, we need to come back out because this is not just a Haitian issue, it’s a Black diaspora issue.”