On January 11th, President Donald Trump once again shocked the world with insensitive comments. But amid backlash over his declaration that Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations were “shithole countries,” Trump has defended himself. On January 14th, Trump told a reporter that he is “the least racist person” the reporter had ever spoken to.
Trump was questioned about his remarks on January 14th outside the home of House majority leader Kevin McCarthy. The president was reportedly asked if he was a racist, to which he replied that he wasn’t.
Trump made the “shithole countries” remark during a meeting to discuss replacing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on January 11th. When Congress began discussing protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations, the president reportedly said, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
The president was immediately slammed for the remark. CNN anchor Don Lemon opened his broadcast on January 11th by saying “The president of the United States is racist.” And leaders of the countries Trump had insulted universally condemned the president, saying the comment was “racist,” “reprehensible,” and “offensive.”
But Trump denied that he ever made the offending remark in a January 12th tweet.
On January 12th, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, who was also at the DACA meeting, confirmed that Trump had made the comment. But Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue later called Durbin a liar and supported Trump’s claim that he never made the offensive statement.
“Shithole countries” comment aside, Trump has made numerous racist remarks throughout his tenure as president. After a white supremacist killed a counterprotester at an alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August, Trump failed to condemn white supremacy, saying that there had been violence on “many sides.” In June, the president said that all Haitian immigrants “have AIDS.” And in November, Trump referred to Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas” during a ceremony to honor Navajo veterans.
Trump may say he’s not a racist, but if he wants us to believe him, he needs to do better.