by Staff writer
In bluntly vulgar language, U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday questioned why the United States would want to have immigrants from Haiti and “shithole countries” in Africa rather than places like Norway, according to two sources briefed on the Oval Office conversation.
Trump’s remarks, made in the White House, came as Democratic Senator Dick Durbin and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham briefed the president on a newly drafted immigration bill being touted by a bipartisan group of senators, according to the sources, who asked not to be identified.
One of the sources who was briefed on the conversation said that Trump said, “Why do we want all these people from Africa here? They’re shithole countries … We should have more people from Norway.”
The second source familiar with the conversation, said Trump, who has vowed to clamp down on illegal immigration, also questioned the need for Haitians in the United States.
Republican Congresswoman Mia Love said Trump’s comments were “unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values” and called on him to apologize to the American people and to the countries he denigrated.
Another Republican Representative, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who was born in Cuba and whose south Florida district includes many Haitian immigrants, said: “Language like that shouldn’t be heard in locker rooms and it shouldn’t be heard in the White House.”
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a frequent Trump critic, said the president’s comment “smacks of blatant racism, the most odious and insidious racism masquerading poorly as immigration policy.”
In an apparent response to his critics, Trump took to Twitter late on Thursday night:
“The Democrats seem intent on having people and drugs pour into our country from the Southern Border, risking thousands of lives in the process,” he tweeted.
“It is my duty to protect the lives and safety of all Americans. We must build a Great Wall, think Merit and end Lottery & Chain. USA!”