An ambassador said the Haitian government has formally summoned a U.S. official to explain Trump’s comments after the President reportedly blasted immigrants from “shithole countries.”
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” the President said during an Oval Office meeting on Thursday after lawmakers suggested protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries, the Washington Post reported.
“Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out,” Trump reportedly said, while calling for the U.S. to bring more people from countries like Norway.
Journalist Yamiche Alcindor, who spoke to Paul Altidor, Haiti’s ambassador to the U.S., appeared on MSNBC and said the Haitian government is “taking formal steps to let President Trump know they are upset.”
“[Altidor] essentially said, ‘You know what? This is the time we need to know how the President thinks and why he said these things,’” Alcindor told Rachel Maddow.
Altidor also mentioned Haiti’s longstanding relationship with the U.S., pointing to volunteers from the Caribbean country who fought on American soil in the Revolutionary War.
The Trump administration announced late last year that it would end a temporary residency permit program that allowed nearly 60,000 citizens from Haiti to live and work in the U.S. following a devastating 2010 earthquake.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” the President said during an Oval Office meeting on Thursday.
(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Trump has spoken positively about Haitians in public. During a 2016 campaign event in Miami, he said “the Haitian people deserve better” and told the audience of Haitian-Americans he wanted to “be your greatest champion, and I will be your champion.”
But Trump also said Haitians “all have AIDS” during a June meeting on immigration, according to a New York Times report.
His comments on Thursday drew widespread criticism and revived charges that he is racist.
The monument honors more than 500 Haitian soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War’s bloody siege of Savannah.
Vincente Fox, the former president of Mexico, tweeted, “Your mouth is the foulest s–thole in the world. With what authority do you proclaim who’s welcome in America and who’s not. America’s greatness is built on diversity, or have you forgotten your immigrant background, Donald?”
“Racist,” tweeted Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) after Thursday’s story broke.
CNN anchor Don Lemon also opened his show with the declaration, “The President of the United States is racist.”
Trump’s comments came as two senators presented details of a bipartisan compromise that would extend protections against deportation for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants — and also strengthen border protections as Trump has insisted.