During an Oval Office meeting in which lawmakers suggested restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa, Trump lashed out at the prospect of enacting legislation for those who come from “shithole countries.”
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said while in a meeting with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Durbin (D-IL), as well as those with hardline immigration stances, including Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), among others.
The comment quickly drew ire, but perhaps none as harsh as the statement from Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, who claimed that today’s remarks are confirmation that Trump’s “slogan Make America Great Again is really code for Make America White Again.”
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“President Trump’s comments are yet another confirmation of his racially insensitive and ignorant views. It also reinforces the concerns that we hear every day, that the President’s slogan Make America Great Again is really code for Make America White Again,” he wrote.
The Congressional Black Caucus, for its part, was not the only one to address the remark. The NAACP also weighed in on the controversy.
“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.”
Even White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah was forced to issue a response amid the swift backlash.
Most tellingly, Shah’s response is neither a condemnation nor a denial of Trump’s disgusting words. Rather, he parrots Trump’s misguided talking points and fear mongering regarding the “dangers” of immigrants.
The acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Thomas Homan, has gone so far as to claim, contrary to what Trump has repeated throughout his tenure in office, that undocumented immigrants committed no more crimes than native-born Americans.
At off-cam WH briefing acting ICE dir. Horman concedes undocumented immigrants do not commit more crimes than native born Americans.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 28, 2017
During today’s meeting at which the controversial comments took place, Trump went so far as to suggest that the United States should welcome people who come from countries like Norway. Trump met with the Norwegian Prime Minister yesterday. The difference, of course, is that Norwegians are overwhelmingly white, whereas those from Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa are not.
While the intent of the meeting was to find common ground for a bipartisan immigration deal, Trump’s glaringly racist and petulant comments reportedly left lawmakers stunned.
Trump’s remark comes on the heels of his administration’s decision to end protections for more than 200,000 Salvadorans living in the United States. The move jeopardizes an entire subset of people who have been living in the country for 15 years.
Trump may have finally bitten off more than he can chew. In his desperation to appeal to his base, he has officially alienated everyone else in the process. He’ll soon realize that he won’t be able to win any elections with the support of 20 to 30 percent of Americans.