An enraged President Trump questioned why the United States should allow people to “come here” from “shithole countries” during a heated White House meeting about Caribbean and African immigrants on Thursday, according to reports.
Trump made the shocking remark during an Oval Office sitdown attended by several members of Congress, two people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” the President reportedly fumed after an attendee proposed to restore protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and some African nations ravaged by war and natural disasters as part of a larger immigration deal.
Attendees were stunned, as Trump reportedly followed the incendiary comment by suggesting that the United States instead bring in more people from countries like Norway.
“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump also said, according to the Post. “Take them out.”
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) were among the attendees, sources said. The meeting was called after a tentative bipartisan deal on immigration issues including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“Why are we having all these people from s–thole countries come here?” Trump reportedly said.
Trump shot down the deal, which would have protected hundreds of thousands so-called “Dreamers” facing deportation, while providing more money for border protection and revising immigration policies the President has criticized.
The White House did not deny that Trump made the inflammatory comment.
“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement issued minutes after news of Trump’s slur broke. “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.”
Haiti’s Ambassador to the United States, Paul Altidor, told MSNBC that Haitian officials “vehemently condemn” the comments and have formally requested an explanation. “Either the president has been misinformed or he is miseducated,” he said.
Trump’s comments were blasted by both sides of the aisle.
Donald Trump in the White House
Mia Love, a Republican congresswoman of Haitian descent, called on Trump to apologize. She said his remarks were “unacceptable” — “unkind, divisive, elitist and fly in the face of our nation’s values.”
“My parents came from one of those countries, took an oath of allegiance to it, and took on the responsibilities of everything that being a citizen comes with . . . They worked hard, paid taxes, and rose from nothing to take care of and provide opportunities for their children. They taught their children to do the same. That’s the American dream,” the Utah representative said.
“The President must apologize to both the American people and the nations he so wantonly maligned.”
Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said of Trump’s slur, “Sad comment.”
“All the more reason to focus on getting an agreement on DACA as soon as possible,” she tweeted.
Trump made the comment after an attendant proposed to restore protections for immigrants from Haiti (pictured), El Salvador and some African nations.
(Maisel, Todd,, NY Daily News)
Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Long Island) was more succinct. She tweeted out a link to The Washington Post story with one word — “Racist.”
Trump made the comment in front of six senators who were presenting him with an agreement they’d hammered out.
During their conversation, Illinois’ Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democratic leader, said as part of that deal, a lottery for visas that has benefited people from Africa and other nations would be ended, sources told The Associated Press, though there could be some other way for them to apply. Durbin said people would be allowed to stay in the U.S. who fled here after disasters hit their homes in places including El Salvador, Guatemala and Haiti.
Trump questioned why the U.S. would want more people from Haiti. He also mentioned Africa and asked why more people from “shithole countries” should be allowed into the U.S., the sources said.
Trump’s attack comes just weeks after it was reported that he exploded with racist comments during an Oval Office meeting last year, telling advisers that all Haitians have AIDS and that Nigerians shouldn’t be allowed into the U.S. because then they will never “go back to their huts.”
Trump made the shocking remark during an Oval Office meeting on Thursday.
Trump sang a completely different tune when he attempted to court Haitian-American voters in Miami in September 2016.
“Whether you vote for me or not I really want to be your biggest champion,” Trump told a small group of Haitain-Americans at a campaign rally in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood.
Friday marks the eighth anniversary of Haiti’s deadly earthquake.
In addition to rolling back DACA, Trump has ordered an end to the Temporary Protected Status designation that provides legal status to certain groups of immigrants from war-torn and disaster-ridden areas. The program benefits some 50,000 Haitians and nearly 200,000 immigrants from El Salvador.
Democrats have hinted that they might force a government shutdown if Trump doesn’t sign a deal that ensures continued protection for DACA and TPS recipients by the Jan. 19 funding deadline.
Herold Basque, the New York-based host of a Haitian radio show, suggested that Trump take a serious look at his own backyard before spewing vitriol about other countries.
“He’s blatantly a racist,” Basque told the Daily News. “Someone might say the U.S. is a s–thole country.”