The first Haitian-American member of Congress believes that President Trump’s comments on Haiti and other nations were racist.
“I think they were, yes,” Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think that they were unfortunate.”
Love was responding to comments Trump reportedly made in a meeting with lawmakers, calling Haiti, El Salvador and African nations “s–thole countries,” a remark some fellow Republicans now deny.
“I know the comments were made,” Love continued. “I don’t know which context they were made.”
Love, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, has called on Trump to apologize for the remarks, which the White House denies he made.
“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump fumed during the meeting, the Washington Post reported Thursday. “Take them out.”
Love said the White House has contacted her to discuss the comments, but added Sunday she isn’t sure what will be said.
In the meantime, she took a swipe at the President over his statement.
“We can’t look to the President to tell us how to behave, how to feel,” she said on CNN. “We have to be respectful, we are responsible for who we are and how we behave.”
“And when history looks back at us, they’ll judge us for whether we’re able to rise to the occasion and rise above the negativity or whether we wallowed in it and allowed it to take us down.”
Trump has come under fire for making the comments.
She defended Haitian immigrants to the U.S., many of whom supported Trump during the election, she said.
“There are Haitian Americans that are here, that are citizens, that contribute to our society,” Love said Sunday. “And not just contribute to our economy, but also help Haiti and their families there too.”
The comments have also left her parents upset, Love added, especially because they once told Vice President Mike Pence they were praying for him.
“So this was very, it was heartbreaking for them,” Love said Sunday.
Trump tweeted Friday he didn’t make the statements, which were confirmed by people in the meeting, including Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).
Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) also attended, but said “I do not recall” Trump referring to the nations as “s–thole countries.”
But on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday, he fully denied Trump made the statements.
“It’s a gross misrepresentation,” he said.