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