President Trump yesterday voiced his objections about an immigration deal that would include protections for people from Haiti and some nations in Africa, demanding to know at a White House meeting why he should accept immigrants from “shithole countries” rather than from places like Norway, according to people with direct knowledge of the conversation.
Members of Congress from both parties attending the meeting were astounded and disturbed by the president’s remarks. Trump made the comments during a discussion of a bipartisan deal to give legal status to immigrants illegally brought to the United States as children (DACA), those with knowledge of the conversation said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the meeting.
When Mr. Trump heard that Haitians were among those who would benefit from the proposed deal, he asked whether they could be left out of the plan, asking, “Why do we want people from Haiti here?” The comments were in line with statements he made last year in a meeting with cabinet officials when he complained about admitting Haitians to the country, saying that they all had AIDS, as well as Nigerians, who he said would never go back to their “huts,” according to officials who heard the statements in person or were briefed on the remarks by people who had.
When the President’s comments became widely known last evening, the White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah did not dispute that Trump had made the comments. Instead Mr. Shah released a statement : “Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people”. “Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.”
This morning, Trump denied he ever made the statements. However, llinois Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat who was in the Oval Office on Thursday during the meeting, spoke out publicly Friday morning to insist that the reporting of what Trump said (and about whom) was entirely accurate. “You’ve seen the comments in the press,” Durbin said at an event in Chicago. “I’ve not read one of them that’s inaccurate. To no surprise, the President started tweeting this morning, denying that he used those words. It is not true.”Tweet