Despite multiple reports otherwise, President Trump now denies he referred to Haiti and African countries as “shithole countries” while complaining about immigration from those countries.
The president had grown frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they discussed protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan deal over young immigrants known as ‘dreamers’ who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, according to several people briefed on the meeting.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump had said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.
Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday.
Mia Love is a Republican congresswoman from Utah and the daughter of Haitian immigrants. Here is what she tweeted:
Here is my statement on the President’s comments today: pic.twitter.com/EdtsFjc2zL
— Rep. Mia Love (@RepMiaLove) January 11, 2018
The point, however, isn’t Trump’s choice of language. It isn’t even his description of entire countries as “shitholes,” as bad as that is. It’s Trump’s belief that simply because someone immigrates from a certain country, that makes him or her somehow less fit to become an American.
Issue here is not the word the president uses to describe these countries but the fact that he thinks their living conditions should disqualify people from being allowed to come here — which would disqualify most immigrants in our history.
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) January 11, 2018
Exactly. A century and more ago, I’m sure many Americans regarded places like Belarus and Lithuania as shitholes. I’m glad that didn’t prevent my grandparents from immigrating to the US from there.
I’ll give the last word to conservative-in-internal-exile Bill Kristol:
Two weeks ago a 26-year old soldier raced repeatedly into a burning Bronx apartment building, saving four people before he died in the flames. His name was Pvt. Emmanuel Mensah and he immigrated from Ghana, a country Donald Trump apparently thinks produces very subpar immigrants.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) January 12, 2018
But Trump would prefer Norwegian immigrants. I’m not sure how many Norwegians are clamoring to immigrate to Trump’s America, but let’s hope they don’t include the likes of Anders Behring Brevik.