‘Dis­grace­ful and racist’

The Washington Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY PAUL SCHEMM AND ELI ROSEN­BERG [email protected]­post.com eli.rosen­[email protected]­post.com Maria Sac­chetti in Wash­ing­ton, Rick Noack in Ber­lin, Michael Birnbaum in Brussels, Josh Part­low in Mex­ico City, Rael Om­buor in Nairobi and Kevin Si­eff in Cotonou, Benin,

In in­sulted coun­tries, re­ac­tions of shock, anger — and pride.

ad­dis ababa, ethiopia — Pres­i­dent Trump’s dis­missal of Haiti, El Sal­vador and African na­tions as “shit­hole coun­tries” whose in­hab­i­tants are not de­sir­able for U.S. im­mi­gra­tion shocked peo­ple around the world and pro­voked swift con­dem­na­tion.

The pres­i­dent made the re­marks Thurs­day dur­ing a White House meet­ing with law­mak­ers and sug­gested that im­mi­grants from Nor­way would be prefer­able. Trump has since ap­par­ently de­nied mak­ing the off-color re­mark, de­scrib­ing the lan­guage he used only as “tough.”

“The African Union Com­mis­sion is frankly alarmed at state­ments by the pres­i­dent of the United States when re­fer­ring to mi­grants of African coun­tries and oth­ers in such con­temp­tu­ous terms,” said Ebba Kalondo, the spokes­woman for the African Union. “Con­sid­er­ing the his­tor­i­cal re­al­ity of how many Africans ar­rived in the U.S. dur­ing the At­lantic slave trade, this flies in the face of all ac­cepted be­hav­ior and prac­tice.”

She added that the state­ment was par­tic­u­larly un­pleas­ant com­ing from the leader of a coun­try that is a “global ex­am­ple” of how a strong and di­verse coun­try can be the prod­uct of mi­gra­tion, and she ex­pressed hope that even­tu­ally “the val­ues the U.S. is known for be­cause of its par­tic­u­lar ex­pe­ri­ence with mi­gra­tion will come to bear.”

The re­ac­tion from the United Na­tions’ hu­man rights spokesman, Ru­pert Colville, was un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally blunt. He de­scribed the re­mark as “racist.”

“There is no other word one can use but ‘racist,’ ” he said at a brief­ing in Geneva. “You can­not dis­miss en­tire coun­tries and con­ti­nents as ‘ shit holes’ whose en­tire pop­u­la­tions, who are not white, are there­fore not wel­come.”

In Haiti, peo­ple took to Twit­ter to share pic­tures of their coun­try — green hills, palm trees in the sun­set and sparkling turquoise wa­ter.

“Hey #ShitHolePres­i­dent!” wrote Harold Isaac. “Here is what my #shit­hole looks like.”

Haiti’s am­bas­sador to the United States con­demned Trump’s state­ment and said his coun­try has asked for an ex­pla­na­tion of Trump’s com­ments from U.S. of­fi­cials. The am­bas­sador, Paul G. Alti­dor, said in a state­ment that the Haitian Em­bassy in Wash­ing­ton was in­un­dated with emails from Amer­i­cans apol­o­giz­ing for Trump’s re­mark, an out­pour­ing he found heart­en­ing.

Haiti’s largest news­pa­per con­demned it as “racist and dis­grace­ful” and said such com­ments have “no place in the re­la­tions be­tween na­tions or peo­ple, even less so in the mouth of a pres­i­dent of a na­tion friendly to Haiti.”

In Africa, there were sim­i­lar re­ac­tions cel­e­brat­ing the beauty of the con­ti­nent’s coun­tries. Leanne Manas, a pre­sen­ter for South African broad­caster SABC, tweeted: “Good morn­ing from the great­est, most beau­ti­ful ‘ shit­hole coun­try’ in the world!!!”

The deputy sec­re­tary gen­eral of the ANC hit back at Trump’s com­ment 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.

Mean­while, the Daily Mav­er­ick, a Jo­han­nes­burg-based news site, wryly sug­gested that “Ca­sual Fri­day at the White House is soon to in­clude hoods and tiki torches at this rate.”

Botswana gave a rare of­fi­cial re­sponse to the re­marks, sum­mon­ing the U.S. am­bas­sador there “to clar­ify whether Botswana is re­garded as a ‘shit­hole’ coun­try” as well and won­der­ing why “Pres­i­dent Trump must use this de­scrip­tor and deroga­tory word when talk­ing about coun­tries with whom the U.S. has had cor­dial and mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial bi­lat­eral re­la­tions for many years.” The state­ment con­cluded by call­ing the re­marks racist.

A State De­part­ment of­fi­cial said Fri­day that Sene­gal had also sum­moned the U.S. am­bas­sador to that coun­try for an ex­pla­na­tion. The of­fi­cial, who was not au­tho­rized to com­ment pub­licly about the mat­ter, spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity.

Kenyan political car­toon­ist Vic­tor Ndula, who has crit­i­cized Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies in the past, drew a “‘White’ House map of Africa,” with re­gions la­beled as “west of the shit­hole,” “south­ern shit­hole” and “horn of the shit­hole” for Kenya’s Star news­pa­per.

“It’s deroga­tory and sad to be­long to coun­tries that have been la­beled ‘ shit­hole’ coun­tries,” said Moses Osani, a com­mu­ni­ca­tions spe­cial­ist on his lunch break in Nairobi. “Im­mi­grants also con­trib­ute to the econ­omy of the U.S. We have rel­a­tives who work so hard, some three jobs a day, work­ing and hop­ing for a break­through for their fam­i­lies back home.”

Vi­cente Fox, a for­mer pres­i­dent of Mex­ico and a harsh critic of Trump, also noted the United States’ im­mi­grant his­tory. “Your mouth is the foulest shit­hole in the world,” he tweeted, ad­dress­ing Trump. “With what author­ity do you pro­claim who’s wel­come in Amer­ica and who’s not. Amer­ica’s great­ness is built on di­ver­sity, or have you for­got­ten your im­mi­grant back­ground, Don­ald?”

In El Sal­vador, news of the com­ments quickly shot to the top of me­dia web­sites. “Don­ald Trump in­sults El Sal­vador,” read one head­line.

El Sal­vador’s for­eign min­is­ter, Hugo Martinez, said he is seek­ing an of­fi­cial re­sponse from U.S. au­thor­i­ties.

“It’s al­ways been a for­eign pol­icy pri­or­ity of our govern­ment to fight for the re­spect and dig­nity of our coun­try­men in­de­pen­dent of their im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus,” he said. “Our coun­try­men are hard-work­ing peo­ple who are al­ways con­tribut­ing to the coun­tries where they’re liv­ing and, of course, also in our coun­try.”

In light of Trump’s al­leged pref­er­ence for im­mi­grants from Nor­way, a num­ber of users on so­cial me­dia were re­shar­ing a Nor­we­gian web­site launched in 2016 aim­ing to per­suade Trump-skep­ti­cal Amer­i­cans to mi­grate there.

Re­ac­tion across the United States, home to a large pop­u­la­tion of im­mi­grants from th­ese coun­tries, was emo­tional.

Farah Lar­rieux, a Haitian im­mi­grant and or­ga­nizer in Mi­ami, ref­er­enced state­ments Trump made in Mi­ami’s Lit­tle Haiti neigh­bor­hood while cam­paign­ing be­fore the 2016 elec­tion that he wanted “to be the big­gest cham­pion” for Haitian Amer­i­cans.

“This is be­yond pol­i­tics. The guy has no re­spect for any­one. I am try­ing not to cry,” she told CBS.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.