US President Donald Trump’s latest remarks describing Haiti and other African nations as “shithole” countries have incurred worldwide condemnation. The African Union, the United Nations and foreign governments have called on the controversial leader to apologize for his statements.
President Trump meanwhile has denied making the specific remarks even though they have been verified by US lawmakers who were in the room when the alleged statement was made.
US President Donald Trump is a polarizing figure in world politics. He has found himself being criticized for his actions and his statements in the past. He has been accused of sexism, misogyny, racism and more. Business leaders like Elon Musk have left councils within the administration due to statements made by Trump.
Since assuming office, the US President has repeatedly tried to introduce stricter immigration policies in the country. He has taken a highly protectionist stance and has pushed for an “America First” stance. He has also openly criticized other nations over their soft stance in immigration and has linked it to terror activities.
In January 2018, he made shocking comments regarding African countries during a bipartisan meeting on immigration with US lawmakers. He reportedly asked the lawmakers present: "Why do we want all these people from 'shithole countries' coming here?” He was referring to Haiti and African countries. The comment was first reported by the Washington Post and has since been confirmed by multiple outlets.
The White House released a statement regarding the story and did not deny that the President made those remarks. However, the statement argued that he was working in the interests of American people. "Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people," White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told NBC Thursday. "He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway."
Donald Trump has since taken to Twitter to deny that he made those remarks but maintained that the language that he used during the meeting was “tough.” However, his narrative has been refuted by Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat who was in the meeting. He said, “He said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly.”
He also noted that Republican senator Lindsey Graham spoke up during the meeting and spoke against the language used by the President. Graham has not denied that Trump made those remarks, but he confirmed that he did speak against the President. In a statement he said, “Following comments by the President, I said my piece directly to him yesterday. The President and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel.”
The African Union, the United Nations and foreign governments have all called on the controversial leader to apologize for his statements. Haitian government has since spoken against the US President and said that his remarks reflected a “racist view” of Haiti. President Jovenel Moise's government issued a strongly worded statement denouncing what it called a "racist" view of Haitian immigrants and people from African countries. "The Haitian government condemns in the strongest terms these abhorrent and obnoxious remarks which, if proven, reflect a totally erroneous and racist view of the Haitian community and its contribution to the United States," it said.
African Union, the organization that represents nations in the second most populated continent populous continent in the world, has also called on the US President to apologize. It said the “remarks dishonour the celebrated American creed and respect for diversity and human dignity. While expressing our shock, dismay and outrage, the African Union strongly believes that there is a huge misunderstanding of the African continent and its people by the current Administration. There is a serious need for dialogue between the US Administration and the African countries.”
UN spokesperson Rupert Coleville said that if confirmed these statements were certainly “racist” in nature. He said, “If confirmed these are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States. There is no other word you can use but 'racist'. You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as 's***holes', whose entire populations who are not white, are therefore not welcome.”
In the wake of the controversy, the US ambassador to Panama has resigned over differences with the Trump administration. A State Department spokesperson told CNN that Ambassador John Feeley "has informed the White House, the Department of State and the Government of Panama of his decision to retire for personal reasons, as of March 9 of this year."
Our assessment is that US President Donald Trump has been mired in controversy since before he began his presidential campaign. He has been criticized for his statements against women, against Mexicans, African Americans and Muslims. The latest statement if proven true, will further diminish his standing in the international community as well as in his own nation. It will come as no surprise that Trump might leave his Presidency as the most hated US President in modern history. What will be difficult for Americans is that they too might be disliked by those who personally detest Trump. We believe that this is a call that citizens must take before electing their leaders.