President Trump was quick to deny the most recent accusation that he made a comment in which he denounced prominently black foreign nations as “sh*thole countries.” Yet with a sitting Democratic senator and various outlets of media confirming his quote as true and with Trump’s continuous conflict with credibility, the importance of the controversy is not whether or not he actually did say it, but what it says about the increasingly impacting matter of Trump’s ever present bigotry.
To expand, during a meeting last Thursday to discuss the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which emphasized immigration policies, it is reported that Trump said “Why are we having all these people from sh*thole countries come here?” in reference to places mentioned in the discussion, including Haiti, Africa, and El Salvador. “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out,” he went on to add, followed by a question of why Norwegians couldn’t be the ones immigrating to the U.S. instead.
“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” he tweeted in response to the accusations. “What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!” He also added, “Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said ‘take them out.’ Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!”
The lack of trust that he mentions is a derivative of the disproved lies he has told in his lifetime, all compiled by The Washington Post. And now, having to choose between the president himself and the media, majority of citizens are not doubting the media’s claims regarding his profanities.
Yet the greater problem does not lie within the question of whether or not he said it, despite the unwillingness of the American people to trust their president’s word. The bigger problem is that the president regards those of foreign countries – specifically, those who do not look alike to him – as different. This is emblematic of an ideology that is toxic to our country.
To analyze Donald Trump’s bigotry, one may begin at his political debut, when he accused Barack Obama of being born in Kenya and, therefore, not being eligible to maintain the role of president in 2011. He involved himself in politics first by advocating for an age-old American ideal that regards black people as lesser citizens of the country that they built.
In the beginning of his campaign for president, he made waves for referring to Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “criminals” without any sufficient proof to back his claim (ironically before sexual harassment allegations surfaced against himself). Furthering this idea, he questioned whether the Fourteenth Amendment truly states that children who are born in the country despite having parents from countries – probably those he considers as ‘sh*tholes’ – are actual American citizens. As president, his solution to combat terrorism from other countries was to issue a ban for entering Muslims, targeting innocent people of a religion as scapegoats for the actions of a few.
Trump falsely accused Barack Obama of issuing a statement for Kwanzaa, but not one for Christmas. He is quick to highlight the actions of people of color against white people, though he acts with haste when condemning white people – referring to some white supremacists as “very fine people” after the Charlottesville rally. He even appointed Steve Bannon (whose website, Breitbart, adopted a white nationalism theme, going as far as having a section dedicated to “black crime”) as his campaign head and chief strategist for the White House. Trump endorsed Roy Moore, a candidate for the Alabama Senate seat who has spoken of slavery in a flippant manner and believed that a Muslim member of Congress should not be allowed to hold their job because of their religion. The president also pardoned and endorses Joe Arpaio, a sheriff from Arizona arrested for racially profiling Latinos and holding immigrants in inhumane prison conditions.
There is a definitive and alarming common denominator with all of Trump’s actions: he clearly lacks an understanding of others who are not like him (male, white, privileged) and, as a result, he treats them differently – also considered as discriminatory and practicing bigotry.
The sh*thole comment is merely another addition to the long list of instances where Donald Trump has displayed his bigotry. The meaning behind the comment is not hard to determine, for Haitian and African citizens do not resemble Trump the way Norwegian immigrants would.
A bigot as a president is nothing new to American history: it’s the same kind of power that enforced the enslavement of African-Americans, the same that put Japanese-Americans in internment camps, the same that excluded Chinese immigrants, the same that oppressed people with differences for years on end.
Soon enough, if we as a society allow him to act upon his discriminatory ideology, Donald Trump will join a long list of oppressive powers leading our country.
Photo: SHAWN THEW / EPA-EFE / REX /SHUTTERSTOCK