Trump became angered when the discussion of protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries arose when he was with lawmakers in the Oval Office. This protection of immigrants would be part of a bipartisan deal, but that stirred up Trump’s emotions.
Trump stated, “Why are we having all these people from sh*thole countries come here?”
Trump then added on that he would rather have immigrants from countries like Norway, having met with the prime minister recently, and would prefer immigrants from Asian countries for their economic benefits.
He also said that immigrants from Haiti should be left out of all deals and commented, “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.”
Some lawmakers, like Sens. Lindsey O. Graham and Richard J. Durbin, were completely taken aback by the harsh statements. Others were less concerned and even attempted to defend Trump’s opinions of immigrants without addressing the issue.
Spokesman Raj Shah, after hearing about Trump’s comments, said, “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.”
Paul G. Altidor, Haiti’s ambassador to the U.S., stated that “the president was either misinformed or miseducated about Haiti and its people.” He also added that various emails from Americans apologizing for Trump’s actions were sent to the Haitian Embassy.
Despite Trump’s judgements of immigrants, he is claimed to hire Haitians at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
He also told Haitian Americans during a roundtable, “Whether you vote for me or don’t vote for me, I really want to be your greatest champion, and I will be your greatest champion.”
A city council member in North Miami, where thousands of Haitian Americans live, said Trump’s words were “disgusting”.
Alix Desulme, the city council member, added on, “This is very alarming. We know he’s not presidential, but this is a low. It’s disheartening that someone who is the leader of the free world would use such demeaning language to talk about other folks, referring to folks of color.”
Lawmakers discussed the bipartisan deal in order to create better protection for immigrants after the removal of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs for some countries. They also began to contribute $1.5 billion for the border wall and want to alter the visa lottery system. Some members of the Congressional Black Caucus wanted African countries to be a part of the deal, but the discussion became heated with no certain conclusions.
A White House official, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed that the exchange was “salty” with Trump being crude and insensitive when discussing immigrants. The person said that “it did not go well.”