President Donald Trump, frustrated with America’s continued responsibility for immigrants fleeing Third World natural disasters, asked members of Congress Thursday in vulgar terms why the United States had to shoulder such a burden.
‘Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?’ Trump said, according to two people who were briefed on the meeting and then leaked the comment to The Washington Post.
Trump was reportedly speaking about Haitians and citizens of various African nations.
‘Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out,’ he told people in the meeting, according to CNN.
Instead, he said, the U.S. should seek to assimilate people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met with a day earlier.
Unlike Haiti and all the nations of Africa, Norway is both a NATO member and a stalwart U.S. ally.
CNN reported that the outburst came at the private Oval Office meeting as Democratic senator Dick Durbin outlined a bipartisan immigration deal put together by six senators which they took to Trump for backing.
Dick Durbin, the Democratic senator who is minority whip, was outlining his proposal in which the visa lottery system, of which Trump has been a fierce critic, would be ended in return for ‘temporary protected status’, known as TPS, resuming for El Salvador and Haiti.
Trump has moved to end it for immigrants from those countries but as Durbin went through a list of countries which would gain TPS under the deal, he reached Haiti and ‘Trump asked why the US wants more people from Haiti and African countries’, CNN reported.
Haiti’s government came out late Thursday and said they ‘vehemently condemn’ Trump’s comments in relation to their country.
The country’s ambassador to the US told NBC that Trump’s remarks were ‘based on stereotypes’ and the president was either ‘misinformed’ or ‘miseducated.’
The White House issued a needle-threading statement on immigration policy Thursday afternoon, while not denying the story’s accuracy.
‘Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,’ deputy press secretary Raj Shah said in the statement. ‘The President will only accept an immigration deal that adequately addresses the visa lottery system and chain migration – two programs that hurt our economy and allow terrorists into our country.’
‘Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation,’ Shah added.
‘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.’
Policy squabbles notwithstanding, Trump’s comments shocked senators from both major parties, according to the Post.
Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois was in the Oval Office to argue that the Trump administration should scale back a proposal to eliminate a diversity visa lottery, which seeks to import people from places that would otherwise be ‘underrepresented’ among immigrants in the U.S.
Trump’s comment about ‘s***hole countries’ comes at a time when his White House is ending protections for people who sought shelter following natural disasters years, or sometimes decades, ago.
There are approximately 436,900 people with such ‘Temporary Protected Status’ living in the U.S. from 10 countries – South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria, Haiti, Nepal and Yemen.
Haitians and Nicaraguans have already been told their protection is ending.
The Trump administration said this week that it was also removing the protection for Salvadoran nationals who have been allowed to reside in the U.S. since a pair of earthquakes struck their country in 2001.
The Haitians were fleeing an equally devastating 2010 earthquake.
The astonishing comments came on an afternoon of chaos as Huckabee Sanders dismissed senators’ claims they had a bipartisan deal on ‘Dreamers.’
Six senators boasted they had a deal in place that would solve the issue of what to do with hundreds of thousands of people brought to the U.S. illegally as children and whose legal status granted under the Obama administration is about to expire.
When Huckabee Sanders was asked about the deal at the White House press briefing she told reporters, ‘There has not been a deal reached yet.’
But minutes after the briefing, Sens. Dick Durbin, Democrat from Illinois, and Cory Gardner, Republican from Colorado, tweeted a statement saying there was indeed a deal.
‘Several of my colleagues and I have reached an agreement that reflects the discussion we had this week with @realDonaldTrump on a solution for Dreamers and border security,’ Gardner wrote, sharing a statement that was co-signed by five of his colleagues.
The group of senators working together included Gardner and Durbin, along with Republicans Sens. Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham, as well as Democrats Michael Bennet and Bob Menendez.
‘We have been working for four months and have reached an agreement in principle that addresses border security, the diversity visa lottery, chain migration/family reunification, and the Dream Act – the areas outlined by the President. We are now working to build support for that deal in Congress,’ the statement said.
However, a spokeswoman for President Trump told DailyMail.com that what Huckabee Sanders said from the podium stands
At the briefing, Huckabee Sanders warned that the Democrats best not play politics over immigration and risk a government shutdown.
‘Democrats should stop making our brave troops and essential government functions political pawns in their swamp games,’ she said. ‘They should stop their obstruction and work with Republicans to fund the government.’
She also told reporters that she believed a deal would get done.
‘We are confident and we feel we’re going to get there,’ the press secretary said as she exited the podium for the day.
The White House meeting was also attended by Republicans including Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue, along with Reps. Bob Goodlatte and Kevin McCarthy, according to Sen. John Cornyn.
Cornyn indicated to CNN that the gang of six’s proposal wouldn’t be enough to get an immigration bill over the finish line.
‘I think the message has now been delivered that we need to get everybody at the table and we’ll take the best of their ideas,’ Cornyn said.
Goodlatte, who serves as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, unveiled an immigration bill Wednesday afternoon that would also deal with DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the name of the policy that gave Dreamers legal status.
Huckabee Sanders was asked by a reporter about that plan too, questioning whether it would act as a ‘poison pill’ for being too conservative.
She said no.
‘I think that’s why it’s called a negotiation,’ the press secretary replied.
‘Everybody puts everything on the table they want. You figure out what you’re not willing to give up, which we’ve laid out. And you try to come out with everybody winning and that’s what we’re hoping to do,’ she said.
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