First of all, let’s be clear about the facts. Donald Trump absolutely DID say “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” yesterday, Jan. 11, in the Oval Office during a meeting with several senators who were trying to broker a bipartisan deal on immigration. Trump asked that question in response to a discussion about trying to prevent immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries from losing their protected immigrant status and being deported.
“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump demanded. “Take them out.” Then, he wondered why the US couldn’t have more immigrants from countries like Norway. Trump tweeted a denial this morning, Jan. 12, claiming that, “The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but that was not the language used.” However, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, who was at the meeting, confirmed today that Trump absolutely called Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, and African nations “shitholes.”
Durbin said it was “the exact word used by the president, not just once, but repeatedly.” So, there it is: an on the record confirmation from a senator of 20 years. Who are you going to believe? Durbin, or the current occupant of the Oval Office who has been clocked in at over 2,000 lies during his first year as president, according to The Washington Post?
Lies spill out of the mouth of Donald Trump on a daily basis, from the lie that his Inaugural crowd was the biggest ever, to his repeated lies that Russia never tried to interfere with our 2016 presidential election, to the lie that he knows no Russians. Racism now has also sadly become a regular part of his utterances. As CNN anchor Don Lemon said so pointedly last night on air, “This is CNN Tonight. I’m Don Lemon. The president is racist.”
Yes, it’s racist to denigrate any country as a “shithole.” Trump made it very clear that he believed that they’re “shitholes” because they are countries that are populated by people of color, and they are not as economically developed as countries like Norway, which are primarily white, first world nations.
It’s about race. And he doesn’t want more people of color immigrating to the US or seeking refuge here. He has called Mexicans “rapists,” he’s called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” and he’s tried to enforce that with a chaotic travel ban. He has rescinded DACA — the executive order protecting 800,000 young people brought to America by their parents from Mexico and South America. And, he recently rescinded deportation protections on 60,000 Haitians who arrived after the 2010 earthquake, rescinded protections on 200,000 Salvadorans who fled here after natural disasters and violence, and rescinded protections on 57,000 Hondurans and 2,500 Nicaraguans who also came here to escape violence. But hostility towards immigrants and refugees isn’t the only indication of Trump’s racist views.
How about his defense of the Nazis and Klu Klux Klan who rioted in Charlottesville, killing one young woman? He called them “very fine people!” He has repeatedly refused to disavow support from David Duke, the former leader of the Klu Klux Klan. Can we ever forget that he was the “Leader-in-Chief” of the “birther” movement, refusing to believe that President Barack Obama was born in America, and demanding to see his birth certificate? For the record, Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, and produced the birth certificate to go with it.
I’m laying this all out for you because I want to be very clear that there are “facts” here — real facts, not “alternative facts.” Trump has said and done all these things. With each one, he shames the office of the president, he shames our country, the United States of America, and he embarrasses us in front of the world.
America was built on the the backs of immigrants. Aside from the Native Americans, who we treated, as Trump would say, “very badly,” ALL of us came to America as immigrants. And, guess what? America, itself, was considered a “shithole”. Great Britain sent its convicts here as punishment! The people who immigrated here, from the Puritans, to the Irish, to the Italians, to the Chinese, to the Jews, to the Germans, to the Poles, and on and on, came here because they had to escape their own countries.
All of our descendants either came here as immigrants or refugees, fleeing poverty and prejudice in their home countries — or they were forcibly brought here as slaves. We all came from “shitholes” hoping for a better life for ourselves and our children, because we had no choice. But, we all contributed to making America great. And now, Trump is insulting people who have these same hope and dreams, and want to work hard and help build our nation to greater heights today.
He’s also insulting the very idea that our democracy was founded on – that the country is a welcoming promised land: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Donald Trump does not represent what democracy is about. He does not represent what America is about. He’s a racist. This hurts all of us. I urge you to register to vote for the 2018 elections and get ready.
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