The expletive heard ’round the world is drawing fierce backlash, including from some Florida politicians.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” President Donald Trump reportedly said during a meeting to strike an immigration deal Thursday in the Oval Office, according to the Washington Post, which first reported the statements. Trump also asked, according to the Post, “Why do we need more Haitians?”
The comments came during discussions about protecting immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti and African countries, who would be affected by the removal of the Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, program. Recently, the administration announced around 200,000 people from El Salvador living in the U.S. after two earthquakes shattered lives would no longer receive this protection.
Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan of Longboat Key had a brief statement on the matter.
“It was an inappropriate comment,” Buchanan said in an email from his press secretary to the Bradenton Herald. “As someone who grew up in a blue-collar household, I don’t believe we should ever denigrate anyone or any country that is economically disadvantaged.”
Buchanan was not in the meeting, according to press secretary Riley Ploch.
U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson, D-FL, and Marco Rubio, R-FL, both took to Twitter to denounce the remarks.
“The President should represent all of the people, not just some selected favorites, and should treat others with respect and dignity,” Nelson wrote. “These are American values and this White House has strayed from them.”
In a Twitter thread, Rubio discussed reforming the visa process as well as listed the contributions Haiti-born citizens have made to the U.S.
“The decision on whether to allow someone to immigrate here should be based primarily on who they are, not where they are coming from,” Rubio wrote. “That’s why we need to move from family based to merit based immigration & why we should eliminate country of origin based diversity visa.”
Friday morning, Trump also took to the social media website to address the criticism after Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin confirmed the accounts reported by the Post.
“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” he wrote. “What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made — a big setback for DACA!”
Trump said Democrats were threatening a government shutdown for “not a fair deal” in immigration policy and blamed them for making the comments up.
“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!” he wrote.