Trump’s ‘s—hole’ remark sparks bipartisan backlash

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President Trump sparked bipartisan backlash on Thursday evening following reports that he referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” during a heated Oval Office meeting with lawmakers to discuss immigration.
Trump reportedly grew frustrated with restoring protections for immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti and African nations as part of an immigration deal and suggested the U.S. instead bring in more immigrants from countries such as Norway, the prime minister of which he met Wednesday.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to The Washington Post, which first reported his comments.
Democrats slammed the comments as racist, while multiple GOP lawmakers called on Trump to clarify his remarks after the White House did not deny the reported comments.
Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah), the nation’s first Haitian-American representative, said the president’s remarks were “unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values.”
“This behavior is unacceptable from the leader of our nation,” Love 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.”
Other Republicans, such as Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), called for a “detailed explanation” of Trump’s comments, while Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) called them “disappointing.”
“I would not talk about nations like this, because I believe the people of those countries are made in the image of God and have worth and human dignity,” Lankford said in a statement.
“Part of what makes America so special is that we welcome the best and brightest in the world, regardless of their country of origin,” Hatch said in his statement.

Democrats were less forgiving with their criticism and blasted Republicans for not going further to rebuke the White House.

“This is racism, plain and simple, and we need to call it that. My Republican colleagues need to call it that too,” Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) tweeted.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) tweeted that Trump’s comments “smack of blatant racism — odious and insidious racism masquerading poorly as immigration policy. He does not speak for me as an American.” He echoed his comments on MSNBC.

The White House issued a statement Thursday in response to the Post’s story and did not deny Trump’s use of the term “shithole” to describe Haiti and African nations.

The president has been quoted in the past making disparaging comments about Haitian and Nigerian immigrants, comments that were swiftly denied and called “outrageous” by White House officials.

“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said Thursday.

Trump’s comments came amid a push for a bipartisan deal on immigration as lawmakers rush to meet a Jan. 19 deadline to fund the government.

A bipartisan group of senators said Thursday they had clinched a deal to provide protections to young immigrants known as Dreamers, but faced pushback from Trump and GOP leadership.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during a press briefing later in the day, “There has not been a deal reached yet. However, we still think we can get there and we are very focused on trying to make sure that happens.”

Tags Africa Bob Casey Bob Casey Brian Schatz Brian Schatz Carlos Curbelo Carlos Curbelo Congress Donald Trump Donald Trump Ed Markey Ed Markey Haiti Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Immigration James Lankford James Lankford Mia Love Mia Love Nigeria Orrin Hatch Orrin Hatch Pramila Jayapal Racism Tim Walz
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