A civil rights icon who also served as Ambassador to the United Nations spoke to News 4 about disparaging comments President Donald Trump reportedly made about Haiti and African countries. And by the way, the senator added, he himself was a descendant of immigrants who came to the United States from "shithole countries with no skills".
According to leaked comments when Trump and a group of Senators were discussing the various temporary protected status programs for Haitians, El Salvadorians, and others, Trump asked why the national immigration policy of the USA did not prioritize immigrants from more prosperous countries like Norway, rather than Haiti and El Salvador.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the president made the remarks during an Oval Office meeting on immigration reform. Trump's reference to Norway may have been prompted by Prime Minister Erna Solberg who visited the White House on Wednesday when the president praised Norway for running a trade deficit with the United States and for buying U.S. military equipment.
Maryland state Sen. Delores Kelley, a Democrat whose daughter in law was born in Haiti, also rose to address the president's comments.
"I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians", the president said.
His remarks reportedly left the assembled politicians "taken aback", the paper said, with Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator for SC, and Richard Durbin, Democratic senator for IL, among those in the room. "The so-called bipartisan DACA deal presented yesterday to myself and a group of Republican Senators and Congressmen was a big step backwards", Trump said in a series of tweets on Friday. "Do we need more Haitians?"
So I think the plan here is to try and change the president's mind, essentially, see if they can work with him.
He also said that the Democrats "made up" the story, claiming that he referred to Haiti as a "sh*thole country", emphasizing that he had never said "anything derogatory about Haitians".
"House Speaker Paul Ryan said the vulgar language was "very unfortunate, unhelpful".
A group of 54 African countries have demanded Trump to apologise and retract his comments on the immigrants.
Haiti's ambassador in Washington has also asked for an apology, as Trump reportedly specifically questioned the protections granted to Haitian immigrants after the quake.
The African Union emphasized its "shock, dismay and outrage", and said it strongly believes that the Trump administration has a "huge misunderstanding of the African continent".
Trump was reported to have said he'd prefer immigration from places like Norway.
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After an emergency session to weigh Trump's remarks, the African Group of United Nations ambassadors said it was "concerned at the continuing and growing trend from the U.S. administration toward Africa and people of African descent to denigrate the continent and people of color".