African Diplomats and Politicians Call Trump Racist in Organized Backlash

"We would not deign to make comments as derogatory as that about any country that has any kind of socio-economic or other difficulties," said Jessie Duarte, the deputy secretary general of South Africa's ruling African National Congress.

REUTERS

(Reuters) — African politicians and diplomats labeled President Donald Trump a racist on Friday after he was reported to have described some immigrants from Africa and Haiti as coming from "shithole" countries.


Sources told Reuters on Thursday that Trump had questioned why the United States would want immigrants from "shithole countries" like Haiti and some African countries during a briefing on draft immigration legislation.

Trump denied on Friday using such derogatory language, but he had already been widely condemned in many African countries and by international rights organizations.

"Ours is not a shithole country and neither is Haiti or any other country in distress," Jessie Duarte, the deputy secretary general of South Africa's ruling African National Congress, told reporters at a news conference in East London.

"We would not deign to make comments as derogatory as that about any country that has any kind of socio-economic or other difficulties," Duarte said, adding that much like their African counterparts, millions of U.S. citizens were affected by problems such as unemployment.

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Botswana's foreign ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador in protest and called the comments "highly irresponsible, reprehensible and racist."

It said in a statement that it had asked the U.S. government, through its ambassador, to "clarify" if the derogatory remark also applied to Botswana given that there were Botswana nationals living in the United States and others who wished to go there.

The African Union (AU), an organization which promotes cooperation on the continent, said it was alarmed by Trump's "very racist" comments.

"Given the historical reality of how African Americans arrived in the United States as slaves, and the United States being the biggest example of how a nation has been built by migration — for a statement like that to come is particularly upsetting," AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said.

Trump reportedly also suggested that America should instead welcome people from countries such as Norway, an invitation a number of Norwegians rejected on Friday.

The Nordic country, one of the richest in the world by GDP per capita, was last year named the happiest nation on the planet by a U.N. body and is known for a cradle-to-grave welfare state.

"On behalf of Norway: Thanks, but no thanks," tweeted Torbjoern Saetre, a politician representing Norway's Conservative Party in a municipality near Oslo.

Others condemned the president's comments as inappropriate or racist.

"We are not coming. Cheers from Norway," one woman wrote.

Since taking office a year ago, Trump has pursued racist policies aimed at curbing immigration into the United States as part of a hard-line "America First" agenda.

Trump said on Twitter on Friday that he merely used "tough" language when discussing a new immigration bill with a group of U.S. senators.

He said the bill was a step backwards because it would force the United States "to take large numbers of people from high crime countries which are doing badly."

The Trump administration has spoken little about how it wants to engage with African countries, focusing its foreign policy instead on issues like North Korea and Islamic State.

In November it ended Temporary Protected Status for immigrants from Haiti and Nicaragua, giving 59,000 Haitian immigrants until July 2019 to return home or legalize their presence in the United States.

On the streets of Lusaka, capital of the southern African country of Zambia, Trump's reported remark reinforced long-held views about the U.S. leader.

"Trump has always been a racist, only a racist can use such foul language," said Nancy Mulenga, a student at the University of Zambia.

Retired Ethiopian long distance runner Haile Gebrselasse, who won his first 10,000 Olympic gold medal in the U.S. city of Atlanta in 1996, told Reuters Trump's comments did not reflect the views of all Americans.

Others used humor to ridicule the offensive comments.

"As someone from South Shithole, Trevor is deeply offended by the president's remarks," "The Daily Show" wrote on Twitter, referring to its South Africa-born host Trevor Noah.

Trump Rallies Base With Coordinated Communications Plan

From dining at Mexican restaurants to wearing clothing with messages, the Trump administration is leveraging hateful communications for political success.

By Sheryl Estrada and Luke Visconti

Despite the backlash against the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy regarding immigrants, President Trump boosted his approval ratings among Republicans to 90 percent, higher than Ronald Reagan at this point in his presidency.

The rise in Trump support "suggests a level of unity among Republicans that could help mitigate Mr. Trump's low overall approval ratings and aid his party's chances of keeping control of the House of Representatives in November," The New York Times reported on Saturday.

The number of people identifying as Republican since 2016 has dropped and the Democrats have an 8 percentage point advantage, up slightly from when they won the popular vote by 3 million. Trump's approval rating amongst non-Republicans is at 15 percent, lower than any other president in recent history, including George W. Bush.

The key for the November congressional elections is going to be voter turn out – and it appears that the Republicans have a decisive advantage after last week's apparently coordinated hate communications campaign.

Immigrants Will 'Infest' America

After backlash from politicians and the general public, Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday saying immigrant families will no longer be separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. The separation was a result of the "zero tolerance" policy.

On Tuesday, he said immigrants would infest America:

I Really Don't Care, Do You?

On Thursday, First Lady Melania Trump made an unexpected trip to Texas to visit a shelter for immigrant children. She wore a short trench coat with a message written on the back: "I Really Don't Care, Do U?"

Melania Trump wore the jacket boarding the plane at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland and when she returned.

Social media users posted about the irony of what the first lady chose to wear to visit kids separated from their families.

East Wing communications director Stephanie Grisham said there was "no hidden message" behind the jacket.

Meanwhile, President Trump tweeted that the statement was against the "fake news media": (embed tweet)

Dining at Mexican Restaurants

In the middle of a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, Stephen Miller — the senior White House adviser who orchestrated the "zero-tolerance" policy — had dinner on June 17 at Espita Mezcaleria in Washington, D.C.

"Hey look guys, whoever thought we'd be in a restaurant with a real-life fascist begging [for] money for new cages?" a customer at the restaurant said to Miller, according to The New York Post.

Miller didn't respond and left quickly, a witness said.

Homeland Security Trump Minister Kirstjen Nielsen then went to another Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday for dinner.

A group called the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America approached Nielsen in MXDC Cocina Mexicana.

"If kids don't eat in peace, you don't eat in peace!" protesters chanted. They also shouted, "Shame!"

"Have you listened to it? Have you heard the babies crying? Do you hear them crying?" activists asked, regarding a tape leaked earlier in the week of young children taken at the border crying.

"No borders, no walls, sanctuary for all," they said.

Dining at Red Hen

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders took an almost 200-mile drive from the White House to rural Virginia on Friday night to eat at a tiny, 26-seat restaurant in Lexington, where residents overwhelmingly voted against Trump in the 2016 presidential election, despite the rest of the county voting for him.

Huckabee was at the Red Hen with "her husband, three or four men and women of roughly similar ages, and an older couple," according to The Washington Post.

The chef contacted the co-owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, to let her know Huckabee was present and that the staff was concerned.

When Wilkinson arrived, she asked her employees if they'd like Huckabee to leave and they agreed.

Many of her gay employees were upset by Sanders' defense for the administration's ban on transgender service members and her praise of a Supreme Court ruling that sided with an anti-gay baker.

And earlier in the week, she defended the administration separating migrants from their children at the southern border.

Wilkinson asked Sanders to leave the establishment.

On Saturday morning, Sanders used her official press secretary account to tweet about being asked to leave because she works in the Trump administration:

Bootlickers Continue Their Synchronized Licking

Politics trump ethics for so-called "religious" so-called "leaders." Children screwed over.

Evangelist Franklin Graham, son of the late Billy Graham, might be disturbed by the images and audio of children crying after being separated from their parents after they are detained crossing the U.S. border. However, because Graham has been among President Trump's strongest supporters, he's not blaming the current administration.

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Trump Caves, Signs Executive Order to Stop His Border Policy, No Details

Tries to blame Obama, Democrats, Congress as he caves in to human decency.

REUTERS

UPDATED June 20, 2018 at 3:36 p.m.

Trump signs executive order to keep families together at border, says 'zero-tolerance' prosecution policy will continue.

The New York Times reports that the new executive order seeks to modify that existing consent decree in order to keep parents and children together in detention. However, Amnesty International says that those detentions could now be indefinite.

"Make no mistake—this executive order is a betrayal of families fleeing violence and persecution," Denise Bell, refugee and migrant rights researcher at Amnesty International USA said in a statement.

"Mothers, fathers, and children must not be held behind bars for prolonged periods for seeking safety. Not only does imprisoning children go against our country's shared values of dignity and equality, but it is also unlawful and threatens to permanently stain the U.S. human rights record."

ORIGINAL STORY

During an early afternoon meeting on Wednesday with members of Congress at the White House, President Donald Trump reportedly was going to announce an end to a major crisis in which migrant families are being separated after they are detained crossing the U.S. border.

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REUTERS

U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III may lose his job as Sunday school teacher as he faces expulsion by his own church's people for his enforcement of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

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Video: Rep. Cummings Says What Every Non-Bigoted American Thinks About Trump's 'Zero Tolerance' Policy

"We will not keep kids in internment camps," declared Cummings."This is the United States of America."

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) expressed what compassionate, non-bigoted Americans feels about the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy on immigration — "We are better than that."

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REUTERS

Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist, said that slain civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be "proud" of what President Donald Trump has done for Blacks and Latinos in the U.S.

Bannon was the CEO of Trump's presidential campaign. Trump gained supporters by calling Mexicans rapists, committing to building a wall between Mexico and the U.S., allowing Black people to be physically assaulted at his rallies and lightly disavowing the support of white supremacists.

"Martin Luther King ... he would be proud of what Donald Trump has done for [the] Black and Hispanic working class, okay?" Bannon said on "This Week" Sunday.

On Sunday, King's daughter, Bernice King, CEO of The King Center, re-tweeted a post from The Washington Post reporter Eugene Scott who referenced a similar claim Bannon had made previously. She included a response, simply stating: “Absolutely not."

In May, King tweeted:

Bannon said in March at an event with far-right French politicians that they should "wear" accusations of racism "as a badge of honor."

Let them call you racist. Let them call you xenophobes," he said. “Let them call you nativists. Wear it as a badge of honor. Because every day, we get stronger and they get weaker."

Bannon said on Sunday that he was “talking specifically about Donald Trump and his policies."

“His economic nationalism doesn't care about your race, your religion, your gender, your sexual preference," he said.

The Trump administration's “zero tolerance" immigration policy is currently separating children of undocumented immigrants from their mothers and fathers.

King tweeted on Sunday:

Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia (27) celebrates with Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in game four of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. / REUTERS

President Donald Trump refused to invite the Golden State Warriors to a customary White House visit for NBA champions. So, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee invited the players and their families to the Capitol instead.

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