In only his first year in office, President Trump has made more than his fair share of controversial statements and racially insensitive comments. Whether targeting minorities inside the country or irrationally making claims against individuals in foreign nations, it is clear that the president’s lack of a verbal filter and incapability of being respectfully diplomatic, has landed him and his administration in hot water on numerous occasions.
The most recent, and among the most troubling, of these controversies emerged on Thursday, when reports of Trump’s comments regarding “sh*thole countries” went viral throughout the global community. During a bipartisan meeting regarding immigration policy in the United States, news emerged of the president making remarks about the troubled positions of many immigrants’ home countries, and outright criticizing America’s acceptance of these migrants as a whole.
Whereas the reports were initially alleged and had yet to be confirmed, Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) came out Friday claiming that his senatorial colleague Lindsey Graham, who attended the meeting, stated that news coming from the Washington Post about Trump’s statement, was, in fact, true. The comment by the president was directed towards countries such as Haiti, El Salvador, and some African nations, which have all been subject to an array of unfortunate detriments, including natural disasters, unfit political systems, and corruption.
After the president made his comments, Graham was quick to respond, outlining that he made his feelings known at the time. Graham told media outlets on Friday that:
‘The American ideal is embraced by people all over the globe. It was best said a long time ago, E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One. Diversity has always been our strength, not our weakness. In reforming immigration we cannot lose these American ideals.’
Graham speaking out against the president’s comments during the meeting itself, especially given that he was sitting directly next to Trump, is being lauded by his colleagues across the aisle. A Twitter post by MSNBC quotes Democratic Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) as praising the political courage of Graham to stand up against the insensitive and racially biased statement made by the president.
Sen. Durbin: "My colleague, [Sen. Graham], spoke up and made a direct comment on what the president said … for him to confront the president as he did, literally sitting next to him, took extraordinary political courage and I respect him for it."
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 12, 2018
Durbin rightfully took the criticism against Trump a step further than his Republican colleague when speaking to the media on Friday. Durbin told reporters that:
‘In the course of his comments, [Trump] said things that were hate-filled, vile and racist. I use those words advisedly. I understand how powerful they are. But I cannot believe in this history of the White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday.’
Although the White House did not immediately refute the alleged remarks made by the president in the immigration meeting, Trump took it upon himself to defend himself on Twitter, claiming that the Democrats had fabricated the story.
Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said “take them out.” Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
The president has made his intentions about immigration and foreign countries known throughout the first year of his presidency, attempting to implement subversive and illegitimate efforts at unjustly restricting the access of migrants to the United States.
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