According to a new report from The Washington Post, President Donald Trump reportedly became angry during an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers on Thursday and made an offensive remark about immigrants. Namely, Trump reportedly blasted protections for immigrants from "sh*thole countries," wondering aloud why people from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries were still being allowed into the United States.
The alleged remark, which is nakedly racist, was reportedly made during an Oval Office meeting between Trump and Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Tom Cotton, and Rep. Bob Goodlatte, among other lawmakers. Specifically, Trump reportedly balked when the idea of restoring the immigrant protections came up, offering up the following inflammatory response:
Why are we having all these people from sh*thole countries come here?
In the immediate aftermath of the remark's being report, NBC News also confirmed the veracity of the story. In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah did not deny that Trump referred to places like Haiti and El Salvador as "sh*thole countries." Rather, the statement claimed that the president will "always fight for the American people."
Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people. ... He 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.
The statement also said Trump will "only accept an immigration deal that adequately addresses the visa lottery system and chain migration," claiming they enable terrorism.
According the The Washington Post, which reportedly spoke to two people briefed on the meeting, Trump then suggested that the U.S. should be accepting more immigrants from countries like Norway.
Unlike the countries Trump characterized as being "sh*tholes," Norway is overwhelmingly white. The reported remarks came just one day after Trump welcomed conservative Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg to the White House, in what was her first official visit to America during his administration.
This is far from the first time Trump has made a racist, xenophobic, or derogatory remark about immigrants or refugees from foreign countries. In the summer of 2015, he launched his presidential campaign with a speech which singled-out Mexican immigrants as "rapists," with the aside that "some, I assume, are good people."
He followed that up by insisting that a Mexican-American judge was unfit to consider a fraud case against him (the case was ultimately settled), calling for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," and suggesting that "Islam hates us."
Since becoming president, he became angry over the terms of a refugee resettlement agreement between the U.S. and Australia, reportedly telling Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull that some 1,000 refugees ― reportedly mostly from Pakistan, Iran, Sudan, and Afghanistan ― were "bad" people who could become the next Boston marathon bombers.
Furthermore, in late 2017, Trump reportedly remarked that Haitian immigrants "all have AIDS," and worried that Nigerian immigrants would not "go back to their huts" after experiencing life in the United States.
In other words, racist remarks and inflammatory, xenophobic rhetoric are nothing new for Trump, and it's notable that the White House's official response to the story so far includes no denial of what he reportedly said. According to The Washington Post's report, the lawmakers in the room with Trump were "taken aback" by Trump's vitriolic remark.
It remains to be seen if the White House or Trump himself will offer any further public comment on this matter, but this much is clear: both the mainstream media and social media alike are now abuzz with the story, andas inflammatory and alarming as it is, it could prove to be a source of mounting pressure for the president and the administration.