President Trump has once again sparked international outrage by making a series of insensitive comments about foreign nations. This time, in a meeting with lawmakers to discuss immigration policy, Trump described Haiti and a handful of African nations as “shithole countries” and wondered aloud why more people weren't trying to come to America from territories like Norway.
The comments come only weeks after the president was heard saying the citizens of Haiti "all have AIDS" and allegedly that Nigerians, specifically, would never "go back to their huts" if they came to the United States. (The White House later denied Trump made those remarks.)
According to The New York Times, Trump had not been subtle about his disdain for immigrants from certain areas: “Why do we want people from Haiti here?” he asked the attendees.
“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” said Raj Shah, the White House deputy press secretary, neither confirming nor denying that the President spoke in those terms. “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.”
Trump's vulgar characterizations were made as his anger grew over proposals to end diversity visa lotteries as part of a program to protect vulnerable populations under Temporary Protected Status that had been living in the USA.
The racial overtones of the President's desire to have immigrants coming from a country "like Norway" (whose population is largely white) did not go unnoticed by politicians on both sides of the aisle.
As national attention focused on the vulgarity of the phrase, a decision about the fate of DACA (an immigration program that allowed individuals who entered the country as immigrants to be eligible for work permits) remains unclear.
The United Nations has offered an official statement on the matter: “There is no other word one can use but racist. You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome," said UN human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville, at a Geneva news briefing.
As the controversy over the situation grew in virality, Trump took to Twitter late last night and early this morning to issue a series of vague statements about the situation and attempted to shift focus onto prior decisions made by the Obama administration about unrelated matters. The tweets contained numerous contradictions and a plethora of factual innacuracies. Some are now reporting that the tweets are being interpreted as a denial of the specific language reported on by various news outlets:
Meanwhile, other twitter users (including celebrities, international politicians, and laypeople) were quick to offer a variety of insults and takedowns of Trump over his almost universally panned statements. Here's a short sampling of some of the social media posts on the matter:
Update: Trump tweeted a vague denial about what he said:
According to The New York Times, Democratic Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois said the president did use the term “shithole” and described Mr. Trump as saying "things which were hate-filled, vile and racist."
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