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Update: US President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to respond to reports that he referred to Africa, Haiti and El Salvador as “shitholes”.
“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” he tweeted.
“What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!”
The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
Original article: African countries, Haiti and seemingly other nations that aren’t from Norway have been labelled as “shithole countries” by US President Donald Trump Friday. This is according to sources present in an Oval Office meeting regarding immigration reforms.
The news soon hit social media, with users across Twitter and mainstream media calling out Trump on his statement.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper led the conversation, with a outro during his Anderson Cooper 360 show.
“[T]he people of Haiti have been through more, withstood more, fought back against more injustice… than our President ever has,” he remarked, in a tweet worth some 64 000 likes and 33 000 retweets.
“Let me be clear…. the people of Haiti have been through more, withstood more, fought back against more injustice… than our President ever has” Anderson Cooper choked back tears as he reflected on his relationship with Haiti, and its people https://t.co/3arEalkKOM
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) January 12, 2018
Other reporters also had their say.
The Washington Post’s Nick Miroff snarkily noted the potential significance of the comment.
“The president’s supporters are pushing hard for a “merit-based” immigration model, but Trump today didn’t say he wants more doctors, engineers or scientists,” he tweeted.
“He said he wants ‘Norway.’ And Norway is not a skill.”
The significance is bigger than “shithole.” The president’s supporters are pushing hard for a “merit-based” immigration model, but Trump today didn’t say he wants more doctors, engineers or scientists. He said he wants “Norway.” And Norway is not a skill. https://t.co/XlhW1Z9Kgo
— Nick Miroff (@NickMiroff) January 12, 2018
The Daily Beast’s John Avlon reminded Twitter that today was a famous immigrant’s birthday.
Worth noting that today is Alexander Hamilton’s Birthday – you know, the immigrant kid who came from the shithole of Nevis to create the USA
— John Avlon (@JohnAvlon) January 12, 2018
Haitian journalist Frantz Duval also weighed in with a more emotional statement.
“Now that the whole world is aware, are we going to take pleasure in this image? Nothing to change it? Are we going to continue to feed the jumble and the singing nonsense that we use as ornaments?” he tweeted in French.
Maintenant que le monde entier est au courant, allons-nous nous complaire dans cette image? Rien faire pour la changer ? Allons-nous continuer d’alimenter les fatras ambiants et les bêtises chantantes qui nous servent d’ornements? Eske nou rann nou kont kibò nou ye? https://t.co/Fo8JuBTYLX
— Frantz Duval (@Frantzduval) January 12, 2018
The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill noted the irony of the “shithole” statement, highlighting America’s involvement in the likes of El Salvador during the 1980s.
Throughout the 1980s, the US armed, trained and financed murderous paramilitaries in El Salvador. The junta killed tens of thousands. The murderer of Archbishop Oscar Romero? US-trained. The murderers of 6 Jesuit priests? US-trained. The US wanted El Salvador to be a shithole.
— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) January 12, 2018
Former FBI Director James Comey quoted lines from Emma Lazarus’s “The New Colossus” — the sonnet written on the lower pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
“This country’s greatness and true genius lies in its diversity,” he added.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” This country’s greatness and true genius lies in its diversity.
— James Comey (@Comey) January 12, 2018
“Mr. President, immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti and the 54 countries in Africa likely helped build your buildings. They’ve certainly helped build our country,” tweeted Chelsea Clinton early Friday, tagging @POTUS in the post.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) January 11, 2018
Mexico’s former President Vincente Fox perhaps had the most scathing tweet directed to Trump.
“[Y]our mouth is the foulest shithole in the world,” he wrote, mentioning Trump’s personal account directly.
“With what authority do you proclaim who’s welcome in America and who’s not. America’s greatness is built on diversity, or have you forgotten your immigrant background, Donald?”
.@realDonaldTrump, your mouth is the foulest shithole in the world. With what authority do you proclaim who’s welcome in America and who’s not. America’s greatness is built on diversity, or have you forgotten your immigrant background, Donald?
— Vicente Fox Quesada (@VicenteFoxQue) January 11, 2018
The tweet received some 111 000 likes and close to 44 000 comments at the time of writing.
As Florida is home to the largest Haitian population in the United States, the state’s governor Jeb Bush issued a wordy statement on Twitter, calling for “comprehensive immigration reform”, but also highlighted that the system should be based on merit.
We need comprehensive immigration reform that reflects our values as a country and recognizes our economic needs. This requires a merit-based system that attracts talented, freedom-loving individuals from across the globe, whether they are from Haiti, Norway or anywhere else 2/2
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) January 12, 2018
But the effects of Trump’s statement has also breached politics and media. The likes of John Legend led celebrity conversation, calling the US President “racist”.
“The president is a racist. He has been for his entire public life. If you vote(d) for him, you do so because of that or despite that. We need a multi-racial anti-racist coalition to defeat him and try to heal our nation,” wrote Legend.
The president is a racist. He has been for his entire public life. If you vote(d) for him, you do so because of that or despite that. We need a multi-racial anti-racist coalition to defeat him and try to heal our nation.
— John Legend (@johnlegend) January 12, 2018
The tweet has since garnered over 148 000 likes and 36 000 retweets.
Filmmaker Michael Moore called on American immigrants to take action, citing the country’s next general elections on 6 November.
In the morning, when u wake up, call your Senators &members of Congress — 202-225-3121 — & say, “I’m an American. My family originally came from the shithole country of (fill in the blank). On Nov 6th, I will be bringing my shithole self & and a shitload of others to the polls.”
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 12, 2018