President Trump reportedly referred to Haiti and countries in Africa as “shithole countries” and called for more immigrants from places like Norway at an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers, two people briefed on the meeting told the Washington Post on Thursday night.
NBC News later confirmed the account:
The meeting was intended to hammer out an immigration deal that would extend protections and offer a path to citizenship to DACA recipients, but also include money for border security and reforms to some immigration programs.
According to the Post, one deal being considered would allow visas from the diversity lottery to go to immigrants who just lost Temporary Protected Status, which allowed them to stay and work in the US — including those from Haiti and El Salvador, whose protections are expiring next year.
That’s the broad context for Trump’s outburst. But this isn’t the first time Trump has reportedly made racist comments about immigrants from predominantly nonwhite countries.
A New York Times report in December recounted a meeting in the Oval Office at which Trump railed against the recipients of US visas in 2017. During it, he reportedly complained Haitians “all have AIDS” and Nigerians would never “go back to their huts.” The White House denied Trump made those remarks.
This time, the White House responded with a statement that contained no denials: “Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” CNN’s Jim Sciutto reported. “The White House went on to say Trump wants immigrants who can “contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.” (The White House has not returned Vox’s request for comment.)