President Donald Trump made racially-charged comments during a meeting on immigration with lawmakers on Thursday, asking why the U.S. admits people from “shithole countries,” according to two people familiar with the meeting.
The White House did not deny Trump made the remarks.
Lawmakers were explaining to Trump how immigrants from Africa could still later access some visas from the lottery under their plan. Then, Trump asked, why does the United States want “all these people from shithole countries?”
“We need more people from Norway,” Trump said, according to the people familiar with the meeting.
The comments were first reported by the Washington Post. The White House did not deny that Trump made the comments.
“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” White House spokesperson Raj Shah said in a statement, adding a list of parameters the president believes should be part of any immigration agreement.
This is the second time in a month that Trump has been accused of making racially-charged remarks during private meetings, according to media reports. The New York Times in December reported that Trump has said immigrants from Nigeria would never “go back to their huts” in Africa after experiencing life in the United States. The White House denied Trump made those comments.
Unlike that meeting, which included only White House staff, this one was attended by members of Congress. Those who attended included Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.).
Trump’s reported comments provoked visceral outrage in the Miami-area, one of the nation’s largest Hatian-American communities, where he campaigned in September of 2015.
“Whether you vote for me or not I really want to be your biggest champion,” Trump said at the time. Since then, Trump won election, moved to end the temporary protective status of about 58,700 Haitians and allegedly said Haitians had AIDS, in addition to his remarks Thursday.
The Miami Herald responded to Twitler’s comment with a scathing editorial.