U.S. President Donald Trump seemingly denied Friday he referred to African nations as “shitholes,” the morning after his reported comments sent American media into a frenzy.
On Thursday, the president had been discussing a potential deal with a team of senators that would have restored protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and some African countries, the Washington Post and others reported Thursday night. During the meeting, Trump questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and Africa rather than places like Norway.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump asked senators. “Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump reportedly said. “Take them out.”
On Friday, Trump seemingly denied using the widely reported offensive language.
“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!” the president tweeted.
Trump’s reported language sent shockwaves through U.S. and international media.
CNN host Anderson Cooper gave an emotional send-off to the people of Haiti in response to Trump’s comments.
Cooper denounced the statements on his CNN show Anderson Cooper 360, calling them ignorant and racist.
“Not racial. Not racially charged. Racist … The sentiment the president expressed today is a racist sentiment,” he said.
Cooper’s colleague, Don Lemon, opened his show CNN Tonight, with a direct statement about Trump’s apparent remarks.
“This is CNN Tonight, I’m Don Lemon. The president of the United States is racist,” the journalist told viewers. “A lot of us already knew that.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson opened his Thursday night’s show by suggesting Trump said what everyone already knows.
“Today during immigration talks, President Trump said something that almost every single person in America actually agrees with,” Carlson said. “An awful a lot of immigrants come to this country from other places that aren’t very nice. Those places are dangerous, dirty, they’re corrupt and they’re poor and that’s the main reason those immigrants are trying to come here, and you would too if you lived there.”
On Friday morning, a Fox & Friends host, Brian Kilmeade, told viewers the president should “clarify right away, before noon so you can move forward on substantive talks.”
Headlines to the likes of “Trump slurs Haitians, Africans” and “Trump’s vulgar immigration comment alarms lawmakers” splashed across major U.S. newspaper front pages.
The Washington Post, the newspaper that first reported Trump’s “shithole” remarks ran a rather conservative headline.
“Immigration offer on ‘dreamers’ fails,”the headline reads on the broadsheet front page.
The tabloid New York Daily News’ front page features an illustration of a Trump poop emoji and a headline that reads “S**t for brains.”
“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 a statement. “The president 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.”
— with a file from Rebecca Joseph