- Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
- President Donald Trump’s comments about the US accepting immigrants from “shithole countries” sparked an uproar in Congress and from other former officials.
- The Washington Post, which first reported on his comments, stand by their reporting.
President Donald Trump’s off-the-cuff comments throughout his presidency have notoriously incensed lawmakers in the past, and his words during a recent White House meeting on why the US should accept immigrants from “shithole countries” appear to continue this trend.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to a Washington Post report that cited two sources who were briefed on the meeting.
Trump’s comments, which come amid negotiations with bipartisan lawmakers over the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, unleashed a flurry of criticism from current and former government officials. The countries he referenced in his remarks were reportedly Haiti, El Salvador, and numerous African nations.
“The President’ [sic] comments are unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values,” Republican Rep. Mia Love of Utah, whose family hails from Haiti, said in a statement. “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 continued. “They worked hard, paid taxes, and rose from nothing to take care of and provide opportunities for their children.”
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Donald Trump is a racist,” Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona tweeted. “Bigotry should have no place at the White House.”
“The president calling #Haiti a ‘shithole country’ ignores the contributions thousands of Haitians have made to our #SoFla community and nation,” Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said in a tweet. “Language like that shouldn’t be heard in locker rooms and it shouldn’t be heard in the White House.”
“It is not a shithole,” Democratic Rep. Adriano Espaillat of New York, who recently made a congressional visit to Haiti, reportedly said. “It’s a very proud people. People who are trying to make ends meet. People who are trying to reconstruct their nation.”
Trump also riled diplomats.
“.@realDonaldTrump. your mouth is the foulest shithole in the world,” former President of Mexico Vicente Fox Quesada said on Twitter. “With what authority do you proclaim who’s welcome in America and who’s not. America’s greatness is built on diversity, or have you forgotten your immigrant background, Donald?”
“Miserably racist comments from a disastrously ignorant person in support of mindlessly cruel policies,” former US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power tweeted.
A White House official tried mitigating the fallout after Trump’s comments were published from The Post’s report, but did not deny he had made the comments: “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,” Raj Shah, a deputy White House press secretary, said in a statement to The Post.
“He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway,” Shah continued.
The Post’s executive editor, Marty Baron, stood by his newspaper’s reporting of the profane comments: “When the president says it, we’ll use it verbatim,” Baron said in The Washingtonian. “That’s our policy. We discussed it, quickly, but there was no debate.”