A report that President Donald Trump reportedly asked why so many people from “shithole countries” like El Salvador, Haiti and some African nations come to the US has been met with widespread outrage.
Trump reportedly became furious during a meeting at the White House Thursday when Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) proposed restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and some African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to the Washington Post.
The group of senators reportedly agreed to cut the visa lottery program by 50 per cent and restore Temporary Protected Status to immigrants from countries facing natural disasters or civil strife.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole hole countries come here?” Trump said, according to the Post. He reportedly suggested the US should take in more immigrants from countries like Norway instead.
Politicians and celebrities have been condemning the US president’s comments as racist.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) went on MSNBC to say 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,” Blumenthal added.
Rep. Mia Love (D-Utah), who was born to Haitian parents, said Trump’s comments were “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,” Love said in a statement.
The Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-Louisiana) said Trump’s comments were “further proof that his Make America Great Again agenda is really a Make America White Again agenda.”
Journalist and author Dan Rather expressed a similar sentiment without resorting to foul language, calling Trump’s comments “disgraceful for him, the country, and every American.”
The Haitian government has reportedly summoned a US official to explain why President Donald Trump used obscene language in relation to Haiti.
Paul Altidor, Haiti’s ambassador to the United States, told NBC News contributor Yamiche Alcindor that he and the Haitian government “vehemently condemn” Trump’s comments, noting that they were obviously “based on stereotypes.”
Botswana summoned the US ambassador to “express its displeasure” at what it called “highly irresponsible, reprehensible and racist” comments.
The African Union (AU) said it was “frankly alarmed” by Mr Trump’s statement.
Rupert Colville, a UN human rights spokesman, said: “If confirmed these are shocking and shameful comments from the president of the United States. I’m sorry but there is no other word for this but racist.”
Trump has tweeted Friday that “this was not the language” he used in the meeting. He however admitted to using “tough” language.
Collins Obi with agency report