Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Media figures label Trump racist after immigration remarks

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said she was appalled by President Donald Trump's recent comments in the Oval Office, in which he reportedly said immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African nations come "from shithole countries" and questioned why they should be welcomed in by the United States.

Demeaning words attributed to President Donald Trump about Haiti, El Salvador and impoverished African nations drew condemnation Friday, as immigrants, advocates and politicians said they reflected a view contrary to the American spirit.

The president also asked why the United States would allow more immigrants from Haiti and Africa rather than countries like Norway.

Trump earned national political prominence by promoting the falsehood that Barack Obama, America's first African-American president, was not born in the United States.

As for one of the most resonant and credible reactions to Trump's statements, it came from someone else in his party.

"I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians", the president said.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., told The Post and Courier of Charleston that Graham had related Trump's remarks to him after the meeting, and he called news reports about them "basically accurate" based on that account.

US Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, who was at a White House meeting on immigration on Thursday where Trump reportedly made the remarks, confirmed to reporters on Friday that Trump used "vile, vulgar" language, including "shithole". These immigrants have lived in a kind of limbo since a year ago, when Mr. Trump scrapped an Obama-era program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

"Why do we need more Haitians?"

"I have seen the comments in the press, I have not read one of them that's inaccurate", Durbin told reporters in Chicago.

Some Republicans were also plainly unhappy, with House Speaker Paul Ryan describing the reported comments as "very unfortunate" and "unhelpful".

Trump denied he ever said "anything derogatory" about the people of Haiti. "It doesn't say, depending on what language they speak or depending on the country that they come from".

The group is "extremely appalled at, and strongly condemns the outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks by the president of the United States of America as widely reported by the media", a statement added, demanding a "retraction and an apology". In a statement, the Haitian government expressed its shock and outrage.

A mother whose son was killed by a drunk-driving illegal immigrant said lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are focusing on President Trump's controversial "s***hole countries" controversy when they should be concerned with illegal immigrant crime, sanctuary cities and border security.

"Trump has always been a racist, only a racist can use such foul language", said Nancy Mulenga, a student at the University of Zambia.

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