Hoyer blasts Trump for ‘racist rhetoric’
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) suggested President Trump could be a “racist” on Tuesday for reportedly calling several nations “shithole countries” last week.
“If you use racist rhetoric, if you pursue policies based upon a racial premise, I consider that to be a definition of a racist,” Hoyer told reporters. “The president articulates racist language and pursues policies based upon race. I think that’s the definition of a racist.”
When asked directly if he thinks Trump is a racist, Hoyer hedged his words but said the president’s remarks were a telltale sign.
“I’m saying what he does is racist. Now, if what you do is racist, you certainly qualify for being a racist,” Hoyer said.
Hoyer also endorsed a column written by Michael Gerson in The Washington Post published Monday saying Trump “incites racism as a political strategy.”
The column “expresses my views perfectly,” Hoyer said.
The No. 2 House Democrat’s remarks echo Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a former civil rights movement activist, who deemed Trump a racist last weekend and said he will not attend the president’s first State of the Union address.
Trump’s comments, which reportedly came during a bipartisan meeting on immigration in the White House last week, have been corroborated by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who also attended the meeting.
Two Republican senators in the meeting said they “do not recall” the president’s comments, and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Tuesday before a Senate panel that she did not remember the president using the expletive but said it was “possible” he could have.
The president himself has denied the reports of resisting immigration from Haiti, El Salvador and African nations during the meeting, and said Tuesday that he wants immigrants from “everywhere.”
Trump has also said that he did not make the comments, saying Friday that the reported comments were “not the language used.”