Trump Calls Himself “Least Racist Person” After “Shithole” Comment
Trump questioned why the US would want Haitian, African immigrants, referring to some as “shithole countries”
“I'm not a racist,” US President Donald Trump insisted on Sunday, in response to reports that he had described immigrants from Haiti and African countries as coming from "shithole countries."
Trump also said he was "ready, willing and able" to reach a deal to protect illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children from being deported, but that he did not believe Democrats wanted an agreement. He tweeted earlier on Sunday that the existing program would "probably" be discontinued.
Asked by a reporter in Florida whether he was a racist, Trump said: "No. I'm not a racist. I'm the least racist person you have ever interviewed."
On Thursday, 11 January, Trump questioned why the United States would want to have immigrants from Haiti and African nations, referring to some as “shithole countries,” according to two sources familiar with the comments.
Trump's remarks, made in the White House, came as Democratic Senator Dick Durbin and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham briefed the president on a newly-drafted immigration bill being touted by a bipartisan group of senators, according to the sources, who asked not to be identified.
Other government officials were present during the conversation, the sources said.
The lawmakers were describing how certain immigration programs operate, including one to give a safe haven to people from countries suffering from natural disasters or civil strife.
One of the sources who was briefed on the conversation revealed that Trump said:
Why do we want all these people from Africa here? They’re shithole countries... We should have more people from Norway.
The second source familiar with the conversation said Trump, who has vowed to clamp down on illegal immigration, also questioned the need for Haitians in the United States.
Trump’s Racist Slur Comes Under Fire
Many Democrats and some Republican lawmakers slammed the president for his remarks.
Republican US Representative Mia Love, a daughter of Haitian immigrants, said the comments were "unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation's values" and called on Trump to apologise to the American people and to the countries he denigrated.
Another Republican Representative, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who was born in Cuba and whose south Florida district includes many Haitian immigrants, said: "Language like that shouldn't be heard in locker rooms and it shouldn't be heard in the White House."
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a frequent Trump critic, said the president's comment "smacks of blatant racism, the most odious and insidious racism masquerading poorly as immigration policy."
Social media blew up with netizens slamming the President for the racist comment.
CNNN’s Anderson Cooper also slammed Trump for his comment, in his monologue during his segment on air ‘Anderson Cooper 360’.
In a response to his critics, Trump took to Twitter late on Thursday night.
(We Indians have much to talk about these days. But what would you tell India if you had the chance? Pick up the phone and write or record your Letter To India. Don’t be silent, tell her how you feel. Mail us your letter at email@example.com. We’ll make sure India gets your message.)
(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.