Trump denies vulgar comments about Haiti and Africa (plus reax)

1600px-LodalenPresident Donald Trump took to Twitter this morning to deny reports that he called Haiti, El Salvador and Africa “shithole countries” during a bipartisan White House meeting yesterday focused on immigration reform.

“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!” Trump (@realDonaldTrump) tweeted at 7:28 a.m.

According to several news outlets, including The Washington Post, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, Trump reportedly questioned why the United States should accept immigrants from “s—hole countries” like Haiti, El Salvador and countries in Africa.

Here’s an excerpt from the LA Times story:

“What do we want Haitians here for?” the president asked, according to the people briefed. “Why do we want all these people from Africa here? Why do we want all these people from shithole countries?”

The president added: “We should have people from places like Norway.”

Trump’s alleged comments sent Twitter ablaze and stuffed email in-boxes with reactions from politicos and others blasting the president, who recently decided to do away with Temporary Protected Status for Haitians displaced by a devastating earthquake that ravaged the island nation in 2010.

Here’s a selection of reactions, topped by our pick for the most entertaining of the lot.

Michael Calderin, Vice-President of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, released a statement late last night, taking a swipe at the president’s Palm Beach estate, Mar-A-Lago:

It may come as some surprise that the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida understands President Trump’s recent inflammatory comment.

Let us provide some context. After all, as Floridians, we have been living in the presence of a shithole for years. And the disgust has grown exponentially over the last year, particularly as it was occupied for nearly a quarter of 2017 by the most rancid, foul-mouthed person known around the world.

We urge the residents of Palm Beach County to strongly object to the shitholes that are Mar-a-Lago, its owner, and his guests. With the irreversible damage being caused, we can only hope there are grounds for legal action to rid this blight from our otherwise beautiful land.

Trump’s alleged comments drew a rebuke from Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who’s had a longtime bromance with the part-time Florida man.

“If this report is true, it is absolutely wrong to say or think this. I do not think this way, nor do I agree with this kind of sentiment. I represent Florida, and we are an amazing melting pot where over 250 languages are spoken,” Scott said in a statement.

Scott’s reaction came in response to a press release from state Sen. Daphne Campbell, a Miami Democrat who was born in Haiti, calling on the governor to denounce Scott.

Other Florida politicos piled on, blasting the president for dissing Haiti. Florida is home to more Haitian emigres than any other state in the nation.

“As an American, I apologize for the incentive, disparaging remarks made by our President. Eight years ago today well over 100,000 souls were lost in Haiti to a massive earthquake. My prayers are with you all & I thank you for your continued contributions to our country” — Tweet from state Sen. René Garcia, a Hialeah Republican running for Congress.

This tweet from U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtenin, another Republican from Miami-Dade County:

“Told @CBSMiami: no country deserves to be called a “shithole.” The #USA stands for inclusion and opportunity, not condescension. Someone should tell @POTUS he’s the President and encourage him to start acting like it.” — @RosLehtenin at 10:21 p.m. Thursday.

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Broward County Democrat, issued this statement issued last night:

“Trump’s vile comments are outrageous, unacceptable and continue a disturbing pattern of racist remarks. He repeatedly sews seeds of racism which foment horrendous, discriminatory actions. No American can be proud of a President who speaks this way. Trump’s Republican colleagues must denounce his comments and stand up against bigotry and intolerance or be guilty of sanctioning them.”

And from the NAACP:

“As our nation fights to move forward, our President falls deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of racism and xenophobia. The United States’ position as a moral leader throughout the world has been thoroughly damaged by the continuous lowbrow, callous and unfiltered racism repeatedly espoused by President Trump.  His decision to use profanity to describe African, Central American and Caribbean countries is not only a low mark for this president, it is a low point for our nation. This President’s failure to grasp simple ideas of inclusion and maturity is an open sore on our democracy that continues to fester. It is clear that the president wants to return America to its ugly past of white supremacy where immigration laws as well as all laws of society only favored individuals from European nations and European ancestry. In fact, the President himself benefitted from those racially biased laws when his ancestors immigrated to this nation. Yet today, he wants to force the American public to pay billions to build a wall to block off our southern neighbors in exchange for the return of protections for DACA that were already guaranteed to immigrants before he came to office. As we head into 49th NAACP Image Awards being held on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Holiday for the first time to honor his legacy, we realize that the Bull Connor of our day is none other than the President of our nation. As King fought then, we fight today against those seeking to implement slicker and newer forms of racial segregation.

We’ll be back later with reaction to Trump’s denial.