President Donald Trump angered thousands with a derogatory comment aimed at certain countries last week. In a White House meeting on immigration reform, Trump was presented with a proposal supporting immigration rights for Haiti, El Salvador and several African nations. He responded: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
Since the comment, there has been an outcry from numerous leaders and organisations around the world. President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, responded to Trump’s comments on Twitter. “The language of @realDonaldTrump that the African continent, Haiti and El Salvador are “shithole countries” is extremely unfortunate,” he wrote. “We are certainly not a “shithole country”. We will not accept such insults, even from a leader of a friendly country, no matter how powerful.”
The UN human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville, agreed that the behaviour was not acceptable: “There is no other word one can use but racist. You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome.”
Both Democratic and Republican senators present at the meeting have also responded in horror. Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin confirmed Trump’s statement, adding that he said other things that were “hate-filled, vile and racist.” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham publicly supported Durbin’s comment and questioned Trump’s.
Now, former US President Barack Obama has issued a thinly-veiled warning to Trump. Talking to David Letterman, he stressed the need for an inclusive attitude. “One of the things that Michelle figured out, in some ways faster than I did, was part of your ability to lead the country doesn’t have to do with legislation, doesn’t have to do with regulations, it has to do with shaping attitudes, shaping culture, increasing awareness,” he said.
Trump took to Twitter to respond to the global outcry, choosing to deny the news, rather than apologise. “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!”