President Donald Trump denied he used the term “sh–hole” to describe Haiti, El Salvador, and some African countries during an Oval Office meeting on Thursday to discuss the protection of immigrants.
“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!” Trump wrote on Twitter early Friday.
The Washington Post reported Trump asked, “Why are we having all these people from sh–hole countries come here?” during the lawmakers meeting at the White House. He then reportedly asked why the United States didn’t bring in more immigrants from a country like Norway.
The president was swiftly condemned for his remarks, with many — including CNN host Don Lemon, the Botswana government, and the United Nations Human Rights Office, among many others — calling him or the comments “racist.”
In fact, Lemon began his Thursday night broadcast on CNN by stating, “The President of the United States is racist.”
“I have to admit, I was not shocked that Donald Trump reportedly called the majority of black and Hispanic countries or continents ‘sh—holes,’” continued Lemon. “I wasn’t shocked. I’m really not outraged by it. I’m tired of being outraged, as a matter of fact. I’ve been outraged too many times. It’s more important to be strategic than to be outraged… Otherwise, it becomes a sky-is-falling situation every time he says something dumb or stupid or racist.”
Trump has been criticized numerous times for his comments on race, from when he claimed “both sides” shared the blame when a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, left one counter-protester dead to his remarks on NFL players protesting police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.
Last year, the New York Times reported Trump said 15,000 Haitian immigrants who came to the United States “all have AIDS” and that 40,000 immigrants from Nigeria would never want to “go back to their huts” after seeing America. At the time, White House press secretary denied the Times report. “General Kelly, General McMaster, Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Nielsen and all other senior staff actually in the meeting deny these outrageous claims,” she said. “It’s both sad and telling The New York Times would print the lies of their anonymous ‘sources’ anyway.”