Trump uses slur against Haiti, Africans
Amid an international backlash over his reported use of a ‘crude slur’ against immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and some African countries, President Donald Trump on Friday denied using the sort of language attributed to him at a meeting where he rejected a tentative deal for 8,00,000 young illegal immigrants.
“The language used by me at the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” Trump tweeted on Friday morning, after his reported description of the targeted nations as “shithole countries” touched off international outrage overnight.
Trump, apparently upset with aspects of the deal that only curtailed the visa lottery programme by 50 per cent instead of completely eliminating it, questioned why the US should be taking people from “shithole countries”, The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed people briefed on the meeting.
In another tweet focusing on Haiti, Trump asserted: “Never said anything derogatory about Haitians and 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.” Trump went on to remark: “Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!”
Although Trump denied using the expletive, senior Democratic Senator Dick Durbin who attended the Thursday meeting at the White House asserted that the president did resort to the crude slur that liberal US media outlets went to town with at once.
“The President erupted several times with questions, and in the course of his comments, said things which were hate-filled, vile and racist,” Durbin told reporters, adding that he cannot believe that “any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday”.
Prior to Trump’s denial, UN Human Rights Office’s spokesman Rupert Colville, slammed the reported comment, saying: “You cannot dismiss entire countries as shitholes … I’m sorry, but there’s no other word one can use but racist.” Officials in several African countries also put out statements criticising Trump.
In respect of the tentative immigration deal that he rejected, Trump tweeted: “The so-called bipartisan DACA deal presented yesterday to myself and a group of Republican Senators and Congressmen was a big step backwards. Wall was not properly funded, Chain & Lottery were made worse and USA would be forced to take large numbers of people from high crime countries which are doing badly.”
“I want a merit based system of immigration and people who will help take our country to the next level,” Trump noted, adding: “I want safety and security for our people. I want to stop the massive inflow of drugs. I want to fund our military, not do a Dem defund.”
“Because of the Democrats not being interested in life and safety, DACA has now taken a big step backwards. The Dems will threaten ‘shutdown’ (of the government), but what they are really doing is shutting down our military, at a time we need it most. Get smart, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” he tweeted.
After the meeting with the group of Senators and Congressmen, a White House statement attacked “certain Washington politicians”, saying they “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,” Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said in his statement.
Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, Trump cancelled his proposed London visit to inaugurate the new American Embassy, blaming it on a “bad” deal by the Obama administration for deciding to sell the “best located and finest” premises of the existing embassy for “peanuts”, and “build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars”. In a tweet, he commented: “Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon – NO!”
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