A host of legislative Democrats joined together Friday morning, condemning alleged comments by President Donald Trump, in which he reportedly questioned why the United States should accept immigrants from “s—hole countries” like Haiti, El Salvador and countries in Africa.
During a news conference in the Capitol this morning, members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus also called on Governor Rick Scott to take an even stronger stance in his rebuke of the president.
“We are appealing to all elected officials, to stand united with us in our demand for an open apology from President Trump to the American people. We are a nation of immigrants,” state Sen. Daphne Campbell, a Miami Democrat who was born in Haiti, said at the presser, adding that Trump’s remarks reeked of racism.
According to numerous reports, the president also suggested that the U.S. should welcome more immigrants from countries like Norway.
“It appears President Trump does not have an issue with immigrants. He has an issue with immigrants of color,” Campbell said.
The event took place hours after early morning tweets from the president, in which he denied making the remarks. Trump, however, did not specify what he said at Thursday’s White House meeting centered on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, the Obama-era policy that focused on children who are brought into the U.S. illegally by their parents or guardians.
“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!” the president tweeted.
Late Thursday, Scott released a statement calling Trump’s remarks wrong after Campbell called on the governor to denounce his pal Trump’s alleged comments.
Florida is home to more Haitians than any other state, and Trump’s decision to end temporary protective status for Haitians could affect nearly 30,000 Haitians now residing in the Sunshine State.
Sen. Perry Thurston, chairman of the black caucus, called Trump an “ignorant bigot.”
“He’s embarrassing and he’s a disgrace to the presidency,” Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, said. “We understand Donald Trump, believe me. We will stand with our brothers and sisters from Haiti, African and all other bleephole countries in fighting Trump’s racist views that creep into his policies.”
The outcry over the president’s remarks comes just days before the Monday holiday celebrating the late civil rights icon, Martin Luther King, Jr.
Former Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner, a Tampa Democrat and civil rights leader, said that young people need to understand that the civil rights fight isn’t over.
“You might be living good and making good money, but baby nothing has changed in that regard. It’s time to demand respect, and demand that the people we elect stand up beside us and with us, and respect us,” Joyner said.