The backlash to a Washington Post report about a bizarre and incredibly controversial remark that President Donald Trump reportedly made during a meeting with a bipartisan group of Senators is exploding.
According to the report, which will undoubtedly dominate the news cycle for the rest of the week, if not longer, Trump exclaimed during a meeting with a group of Republican and Democratic senators “why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” after growing frustrated when they floated the idea of restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti and El Salvador that Trump is trying to kick out of the country.
Already, Trump has canceled a state visit to London – ostensibly because he didn’t want to “cut the ribbon” at the new US embassy in the Southwestern portion of the city. And now, the United Nations Human Rights Office is saying Trump’s incredibly callous description of countries in Africa, the Caribbean and South America could “potentially damage and disrupt the lives of many people.”
Amazingly, the White House didn’t even try to push back against the report, issuing an uncharacteristically flimsy non-denial denial. If anything, the statement served to reinforce the negative connotations of Trump’s off-the-cuff comment.
And the WH does not deny POTUS “sh*thole” comments. pic.twitter.com/GRraWOt35d
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) January 11, 2018
UN spokesman Rupert Colville said that “you cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’,” according to the Associated Press.
Colville said Friday that the comments, if confirmed, were “shocking and shameful” and “I’m sorry, but there’s no other word one can use but racist.”
He also said that Trump’s comment will endanger lives because “it legitimizes the targeting of people based on who they are.”
“This isn’t just a story about vulgar language, it’s about opening the door to humanity’s worst side,” he said.
Colville concluded that Trump’s reported comments “go against the universal values the world has been striving so hard to establish since World War II and the Holocaust.”
Oddly enough, given the White House’s shockingly tone-deaf response, the US Africa Media Hub has taken the lead in trying to put out the flames sparked by the report.
Without directly referring to Trump’s alleged statement, they sent a tweet saying that “US remains committed to working together w/Africans to realize the promise of a more peaceful, more productive, more prosperous 21st century Africa. US deeply respects the people of #Africa & values its partnerships with them.”
US remains committed to working together w/Africans to realize the promise of a more peaceful, more productive, more prosperous 21st century Africa. US deeply respects the people of #Africa & values its partnerships with them.
— US Africa Media Hub (@AfricaMediaHub) January 12, 2018
South Africa’s ruling party is calling President Donald Trump’s comment on African immigrants “extremely offensive.”
Furthermore, the comment was apparently made during a meeting where the bipartisan group of Senators apparently presented Trump with what they claimed was an “agreement in principle” on the terms of a sweeping immigration deal that would enshrine DACA protections in exchange for border-security funding.
It should go without saying that this latest controversy should hold back the negotiations on DACA as Trump inevitably seeks to double down on his most controversial comments, like his response to the murder at a counterprotest to a White Nationalist rally in Charlottesville.