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Trump in foul-mouthed outburst during meeting with Haiti and African nations

Trump reportedly asked: "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" during a meeting on an immigration deal

12 January 2018, 8:42am
US President Donald Trump has reportedly lashed out at immigrants, referring to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” during a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators at the White House.

"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump told lawmakers on Thursday, according to The Washington Post, where it was first reported.

The remark, made during talks on an immigration deal, was reportedly in reference to people from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries.

Democratic Senator Richard Durbin had just been discussing US temporary residency permits granted to citizens of countries hit by natural disasters, war or epidemics, according to US media.

Sources also say that during the convestation about Hiati, the president also questioned why Haitians should be given specific consideration.

 “Why do we need more Haitians, take them out,” he said, according to our sources.

Someone else in the room responded: “Because if you do, it will be obvious why.”

According to the aide, when the group came to discussing immigration from Africa, Trump asked why America would want immigrants from "all these shithole countries" and that the U.S. should have more people coming in from places like Norway. Thursday's meeting came one day after Trump met with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the White House.

A source familiar with Thursday's meeting said the president was particularly frustrated during discussions about the visa lottery system — a program Trump has railed against repeatedly in recent months. Another White House source explained the language Trump used as his way of trying to emphasize his support for a merit-based immigration system.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, was in Thursday's meeting at the White House, but would not comment on the president's reported slur.

The White House made no attempt to deny the comment.

"Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people," a statement from White House spokesman Raj Shah said.

It continued: "Like other countries that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.

"He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway."

It sparked condemnation from politicians of both parties, and promted Haiti’s foreign minister summon U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Robin Diallo for clarification.

In recent weeks, the Trump administration has been trying to limit the number of family members of immigrants who can enter the US, and has moved to end the protected status of thousands of immigrants already in the US.

The Haiti Ambassador to the U.S. Paul G. Altidor called Trump's comments “regrettable” and based on “clichés and stereotypes rather than actual fact.”

The ambassador underscored the indelicate timing of the comment, pointing out that Friday is the eighth anniversary of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which is estimated to have killed well over 200,000 people.

Altidor said that since the reports of Trump's remarks, he had been “bombarded by emails from the American public apologizing” and said he knew Trump's comments were “not the views of the American public.”

Republican Rep. Mia Love of Utah — the daughter of Haitian immigrants herself — released a tough statement calling Trump's comments "unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation's values" and demanding an apology from the president.

Another black Democratic lawmaker, Cedric Richmond, said Mr Trump's comments "are further proof that his Make America Great Again agenda is really a Make America White Again agenda".

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) accused the president of falling "deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of racism and xenophobia".

It’s not the first time reports have surfaced of Trump speaking unfavorably about immigrants, and Haitians in particular. Trump reportedly said Haitian immigrants "all have AIDS," during a summer 2017 meeting about immigration.

The UN has since called Trump's remarks racist 

"If confirmed these are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States," spokesperson Rupert Coleville said.

You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as 's***holes', whose entire populations who are not white, are therefore not welcome."

The African Union (AU), a group representing all 55 countries on the continent, said it was "frankly alarmed" by the US President's comments.

"Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behaviour and practice," AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said.

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, compared Mr Trump's comments to Nazism. 

"To the Nazi's, the purest Aryans were the Nordic people of Germany and Norway," he wrote on Twitter, alluding to Mr Trump's complaint that more Norwegians were not allowed into the US.