First reported by the Washington Post, and then confirmed by various other outlets, President Donald Trump's racism sparked renewed outrage on Thursday—and the #ShitHoleDon hashtag—after it was learned he referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as "shitholes countries" during a closed-door meeting with Republican lawmakers.
"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump reportedly said, according to people briefed on the meeting.
According to a version of the exchange reported by NBC News, Trump said the U.S. should "have more people from places like Norway," but said refugees and immigrants from places like Haiti and Africa should no longer received protections.
"Why do we need more Haitians?" Trump asked, according to the Post's sources. "Take them out."
To the Nazi's, the purest Aryans were the Nordic people of Germany and Norway. “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries [Haiti and Africa] come here?” Trump exploded today, saying the U.S. should bring more people from countries like Norway. Connection?
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) January 11, 2018
In a statement, the NAACP "unequivocally denounced" Trump's latest outburst:
As our nation fights to move forward, our President falls deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of racism and xenophobia. The United States’ position as a moral leader throughout the world has been thoroughly damaged by the continuous lowbrow, callous and unfiltered racism repeatedly espoused by President Trump. His decision to use profanity to describe African, Central American and Caribbean countries is not only a low mark for this president, it is a low point for our nation. This President’s failure to grasp simple ideas of inclusion and maturity is an open sore on our democracy that continues to fester.
It is clear that the president wants to return America to its ugly past of white supremacy where immigration laws as well as all laws of society only favored individuals from European nations and European ancestry. In fact, the President himself benefitted from those racially biased laws when his ancestors immigrated to this nation. Yet today, he wants to force the American public to pay billions to build a wall to block off our southern neighbors in exchange for the return of protections for DACA that were already guaranteed to immigrants before he came to office. As we head into 49th NAACP Image Awards being held on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Holiday for the first time to honor his legacy, we realize that the Bull Connor of our day is none other than the President of our nation. As King fought then, we fight today against those seeking to implement slicker and newer forms of racial segregation.
The person who spoke with NBC, the outlet reports, said Trump "was particularly frustrated during discussions about the visa lottery system—a program Trump has railed against repeatedly in recent months."
Alix Desulme, a city council member in North Miami, home to thousands of Haitian Americans, told the Washington Post Trump's comments "disgusting."
"Oh my God. Oh my God Jesus," said Desulme. "I don't know how worse it can get. This is very alarming. We know he's not presidential but this a low. It's disheartening that someone who is the leader of the free world would use such demeaning language to talk about other folks, referring to folks of color."
And while Trump built much of his political brand on both overt bigotry and racist dog-whistling, as president he has been able to actually enact policies that are manifestly racist, including his travel ban directed at Muslim-majority countries and a set of other immigration policies that specifically target predominately black and brown people from countries that include El Salvador, Haiti, and Somalia.
A year into his presidency and we're still surprised that he'd say something racist?
He's been pushing racist POLICIES and DOING racist things from day one. Remember the #MuslimBan?
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) January 12, 2018
Just this week, the Trump administration ended special protection status from Salvadorans who came to the U.S. as refugees after earthquakes devastated the country in 2001.
There is no witty meme or hot take to make here. The fact that our President not only thinks these things, but actively says and acts on them is awful and disgusting. We will continue to stand with our allies against white supremacy. https://t.co/dRnNnRAE8P
— Win Without War (@WinWithoutWar) January 12, 2018
While the White House released a statement in response to reports about Trump's offensive comments, it did not deny the president said these things.
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) responded by saying he was, "as an American, ashamed of the President" over the comments which he said were "disappointing, unbelievable, but not surprising."
"We always knew that President Trump doesn't like people from certain countries or people or certain colors," Gutiérrez continued. "We can now we say with 100% confidence that the President is a racist who does not share the values enshrined in our Constitution or Declaration of Independence."
In separate comments to the Post, Gutiérrez said Trump's remarks comments "will shake the confidence that people have" in the ongoing talks in Congress about immigration policy. "Democrats and Republicans in the Senate made a proposal. The answer is this racist outburst of the president. How can you take him seriously? They [Republicans] don’t believe in immigration — it’s always been about people of color and keeping them out of this country," Gutierrez said.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif) said Trump's racist remarks were "beyond the pale, even for him":
Once again, @realDonaldTrump is dividing our nation. His statement today in the Oval Office was beyond the pale, even for him. If the stark racism of @POTUS makes you angry, help us take back the House and Senate this November. And this January 20, go march. https://t.co/iUyHpFPtJN
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) January 11, 2018
The disgust and outrage was contagious and fast-moving, as was the use of the new #ShitHoleDon hashtag on social media: