President Trump has come under fire for comments he made about immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries during a bipartisan meeting on immigration on Thursday in the White House.
President Trump grew frustrated when lawmakers discussed protecting immigrants from these countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to The Washington Post and several people briefed on the meeting.
“Why are we having all these people from sh*thole countries come here?” Trump reportedly said, referring to these countries mentioned by the lawmakers.
The president singled out Haiti, telling lawmakers that immigrants from that country must be left out of any deal. “Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.”
Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday. According to a White House official, the president also suggested he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries because he felt that they help the United States economically.
In response to Trump’s controversial comments, White House spokesman Raj Shah said, “Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people.”
This morning, Trump also responded to the matter in two tweets. In the first tweet, Trump claimed “this was not the language used”, instead slamming the “outlandish proposal”, but it’s unclear whether he’s specifically denying the use of the word “sh*thole”. In the second tweet, Trump denies saying “take them out”, saying the comment was fabricated by Democrats.
When condemning immigration from predominantly black countries like Haiti, El Salvador and Africa and welcoming immigration from predominantly white countries like Norway and Asia, there's no question what Trump was getting at. Trump is pandering to his base of xenophobic, racist white Americans who claim to feel persecuted amid pleas for diversity, inclusion and compassion.
According to CNN senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny, Trump's comments came to light yesterday afternoon while he was filming a message for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Some argued that previous presidents have made comments far worse about other countries, but that’s missing the point. In most cases, those previous presidents weren’t making comments about the civilians of foreign countries. Mostly likely, those were comments made about a particular country’s leaders or political system and they were made within that president’s inner circle – not openly in a bipartisan meeting and certainly not proudly proclaimed on the campaign trail.
In many cases there is no precedent for Trump’s behavior in the White House and this is one of them.
So while Republicans have repeatedly declined to comment on questions of Trump’s racism and will likely do the same when questioned about these comments, it’s time for any remaining doubters to stop kidding themselves when it comes to Trump’s racism because he’s not merely pandering to his base – his racist views have been well-known since the ‘70s.
Even before his presidential run, it was no secret that Trump had already engaged in racist and discriminatory practices back in the ‘70s.
In 1973, a federal lawsuit was brought against Donald Trump and his company for alleged racial discrimination at Trump housing developments in New York. The lawsuit was based on evidence gathered by the New York City Human Rights Division, which alleged that black people who went to Trump buildings were told there were no apartments available, while white people were offered units.
Let’s also not forget that Trump’s presidential run was spearheaded by Trump’s “birtherism” comments that claimed then-president Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. and he constantly demanded to see Obama’s birth certificate.
All throughout his presidential campaign, he gave speeches sprinkled with racist comments about how Mexicans are rapists and how the U.S. should enforce a Muslim ban.
And if all those things weren’t enough to convince people of Trump’s racism, there was his public statement while he was president after the infamous Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville where he declared, “there were fine people on both sides” in reference to white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and members of the alt-right who clashed with anti-racist protesters.
So, at this point, no one should find Trump’s latest comments the least bit surprising and no one should just now be learning of his racism. After all, if he referred to New Hampshire, a state in his own country, as a “drug-infested den”, what would you expect a historically racist man with no shame to say in regards to possibility of welcoming immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and Africa?
What’s truly stunning about Trump’s presidency, which again makes him an anomaly, is his refusal to appeal to mainstream Americans and bring the country together despite political differences. Trump has showed, time and time again, that the people who voted for him are the only people he’s interested in appealing to and whether Trump gets reelected in 2020 or not, it will likely take years, if not decades, to repair the damage he has made in regards to race relations.
It’s time for Republican politicians to grow a backbone and for Trump supporters to open their eyes and condemn his indisputable racism – for the benefit of the future and well-being of this country.