TRUMP denied it. The president of the United States tweeted he did not describe certain nations from Africa as “shithole countries” during a bipartisan meeting on immigration when he rejected a bipartisan deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Trump also denied he demanded that people from Haiti be removed from negotiations about protected status for people from certain countries.
BUT he lied. He lied again to the American people and the world with this denial. Lawmakers in the room with him during that private meeting confirmed the president indeed uttered those appalling racially charged comments disparaging immigrants from Africa and Haiti and said that the United States should instead take in more immigrants from Norway — a rich country that is predominantly “white.”
Democratic Senator Dick Durbin from Illinois recounted that Trump “said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly,” confirming reports by the Washington Post and other news organizations.
“Why do we want all these people from ‘shithole countries’ coming here?” Trump told senators in the Oval Office.
Durbin also confirmed that Trump said, “Haitians. Do we need more Haitians?” and pushed to take them out of the country.
“Then he went on and started to describe the immigration from Africa that was being protected in this bipartisan measure. That’s when he used these vile and vulgar comments, calling the nations they come from ‘shitholes,’” Durbin confirmed. “The exact word used by the president. Not just once but repeatedly. That was the nature of this conversation.”
Meanwhile, Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue said they “do not recall the President saying these comments specifically,” other GOP senators confirmed this happened in the Oval Office.
South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, who was also in that bipartisan meeting issued this statement: “The president and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel. I’ve always believed that America is an idea, not defined by its people but by its ideals.”
These recent comments from Trump caused outrage not only from among many Americans but from people all over the world, especially because this statement by the president is not an isolated case.
After all, Trump first grabbed the attention and won hearts of some Americans when he pushed the conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. This has been followed by other anti-immigrant remarks and policy statements as a candidate and as the president of the United States, while defending “white” people.
However, it was a different story from the Trump camp. In a report by CNN, a White House official told CNN that “the president’s ‘shithole’ remark is being received much differently inside of the White House than it is outside. The official said that although this might enrage Washington, staffers predict the comment would resonate with Trump’s base.”
How ironic that this weekend, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in remembrance of the civil rights leader and peace advocate who said, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Unfortunately, President Donald Trump’s own words and actions do not reflect the inclusive values of America, a nation built by immigrants of ALL color.
Where are the leaders of the Republican Party? Where is the outrage?
This development just makes a lot of kababayans ask: Does Trump think we Filipinos, who are people of color as well, come from a “shithole” too?
Do you share Trump’s racist sentiments? If you voted for him, how do you even defend him again and again for his lies and racist comments? Are you part of that “base’ who lauds him because his comments resonate with your own values? If not, where is your outrage? Where is the condemnation?
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos