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 it was Trump’s Republican nemesis, Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona, who schooled the President with a classy response.
My ancestors came from countries not nearly as prosperous as the one we live in today. I’m glad that they were welcomed here.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) January 12, 2018
In an ultimate twist of irony, Trump overlooks the fact that even his own mother and wife are immigrants, having emigrated to the United States from Scotland and Slovenia, respectively.
Amid the backlash, White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah was forced to issue a response.
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.
While Republicans in Congress have thus far proven themselves wholly impotent against Trump, the fact that even members of his own party are beginning to condemn his disgusting remarks is a testament to just how far he stepped over the line today.