Don­ald Trump ac­cused of us­ing ‘ hate-filled, vile and racist’ lan­guage af­ter out­burst about im­mi­grants.

Pres­i­dent de­nies us­ing deroga­tory lan­guage

National Post (Latest Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - Nick Allen

WASH­ING­TON • Don­ald Trump has been ac­cused of us­ing “hate- filled, vile and racist” lan­guage in the Oval Of­fice af­ter he at­tacked im­mi­grants com­ing to t he United States from “shit­hole coun­tries.”

The pres­i­dent’s re­marks, said to have been di­rected at African na­tions as well as Haiti and El Sal­vador, were con­demned by the United Na­tions hu­man rights of­fice and la­belled “di­vi­sive” by mem­bers of his own Repub­li­can Party. Haiti and Botswana sum­moned U. S. am­bas­sadors to ex­plain the com­ments re­port­edly made at a White House meeting as part of an at­tempt by Repub­li­cans and Democrats to pro­tect from de­por­ta­tion 700,000 chil­dren brought to the states il­le­gally as chil­dren.

Trump re­port­edly said: “Why are we hav­ing all these peo­ple from shit­hole coun­tries come here? Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.”

The pres­i­dent was said to have sug­gested bring­ing in mi­grants from coun­tries such as Nor­way, hav­ing met Erna Sol­berg, the Nor­we­gian prime min­is­ter, on Wed­nes­day. He also sug­gested he would con­sider mi­grants from Asia who might help the U. S. eco­nom­i­cally, ac­cord­ing to sev­eral law­mak­ers at the meeting who re­peated the pres­i­dent’s re­marks to the Wash­ing­ton Post.

On Fri­day Trump de­nied mak­ing the re­marks, say­ing he had been “tough, but this was not the lan­guage used.”

He turned to Twit­ter to state: “Never said any­thing deroga­tory about Haitians other than Haiti is, ob­vi­ously, a very poor and trou­bled coun­try. Never said ‘ take them out’. Made up by Dems. I have a won­der­ful re­la­tion­ship with Haitians. Prob­a­bly should record fu­ture meet­ings — un­for­tu­nately, no trust!”

But Dick Durbin, a Demo­crat sen­a­tor who was at the meeting, said he had used the words: “In the course of his com­ments he said things that were hate-filled, vile and racist.

“I can­not be­lieve that, in the his­tory of the White House and that Oval Of­fice, any pres­i­dent has ever spo­ken the words that I per­son­ally heard our pres­i­dent speak yes­ter­day.”

Ru­pert Colville, spokesman for the UN Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights, said Trump’s com­ments were “shock­ing and shame­ful.” Speak­ing in Geneva, he said: “Sorry, but there is no other word one can use but ‘ racist.’ You can­not dis­miss en­tire coun­tries and con­ti­nents as ‘ shit­holes’ whose en­tire pop­u­la­tions, who are not white, are there­fore not wel­come.”

The 55- na­tion African Union said it was “frankly alarmed.” Haiti, which Fri­day ob­served the eighth an­niver­sary of a dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake, sum­moned the U. S. charge d’af­faires for an ex­pla­na­tion. Botswana called the com­ments “rep­re­hen­si­ble and racist.”

The deputy sec­re­tary gen­eral of the African Na­tional Congress, the party once led by Nel­son Man­dela, hit back dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in South Africa. “Ours is not a shit­hole coun­try. Nei­ther is Haiti or any other coun­try in dis­tress,” Jessie Duarte said.

Canada’s for­mer gov­er­nor gen­eral, Michaelle Jean, who was born in the Haitian cap­i­tal of Port- au- Prince and is sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion in­ter­na­tionale de la Fran­co­phonie, called Trump’s re­ported re­marks “in­sult­ing.”

“It was so dis­turb­ing this morn­ing to hear Pres­i­dent Trump’s com­ments re­ported all over the news call­ing my poor na­tive land and African coun­tries ‘shit­hole’ na­tions,” Jean said in a state­ment to The Cana­dian Press. “It is such an in­sult be­fore hu­man­ity.”

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau said he would not “opine on what the pres­i­dent may or may not have said” but called Canada a coun­try of open­ness and re­spect.

Few Repub­li­cans de­fended the pres­i­dent’s re­marks, and party lead­ers were silent most of the day. Those who did speak out ar­gued the com­ments were merely un­var­nished state­ments on t he eco­nomic blight in some re­gions of the world, not an ex­pres­sion of racial pref­er­ence.

Oth­ers said Trump, who rel­ishes re­ject­ing po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, was voic­ing views held qui­etly by many.

“I’ ve said all along the pres­i­dent many times says what peo­ple are think­ing,” Repub­li­can Rep. Jim Re­nacci, a can­di­date for Se­nate in Ohio, told Fox News. “Let’s judge the pres­i­dent af­ter what we’ve done. Let’s not judge the pres­i­dent on what he says.”

Trump later ap­peared at a White House event to hon­our Martin Luther King, the civil rights ac­tivist. In his speech he said: “No mat­ter what the colour of our skin, or the place of our birth, we are all cre­ated equal.”

Tor­b­jorn Sae­tre, a Nor­we­gian politi­cian, tweeted: “On be­half of Nor­way: Thanks, but no thanks.”

Mean­while, Trump has can­celled a trip to Lon­don to open the new $ 1 bil­lion U. S. Em­bassy in the Bri­tish cap­i­tal, a move that avoided protests promised by po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents.

Some U.K. law­mak­ers had said Trump was not wel­come in Bri­tain af­ter he re- tweeted videos from a far- right Bri­tish group and crit­i­cized Lon­don Mayor Sadiq Khan fol­low­ing a ter­ror at­tack last year.

But Trump said his de­ci­sion, an­nounced in a latenight Thurs­day tweet, was due to con­cerns about the em­bassy’s move from the elite May­fair dis­trict to a far less fash­ion­able area of Lon­don south of the Thames River.

THERE IS NO OTHER WORD ONE CAN USE BUT ‘RACIST.’

CAROLYN KASTER / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Don­ald Trump, pic­tured leav­ing Bethesda, Md., on Fri­day af­ter his first med­i­cal checkup as U. S. pres­i­dent, is fac­ing a new storm over “vile and racist” lan­guage he al­legedly used in the Oval Of­fice dur­ing a meeting on im­mi­gra­tion.

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