Democrats and Republicans, as well as governments in Latin America and Africa, have piled on demanding an apology for remarks reputedly made by President Donald Trump on Thursday. This came after the Washington Post spread a rumor that the president had made disparaging remarks about Haiti and El Salvador as "sh-ithole" countries. No recording has emerged of the supposed remarks, and Trump denied the remarks just 12 hours later. Present at a meeting at the White House to discuss border security and immigration issues (including the 900,000 beneficiaries of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy DACA), were Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), among others.
Several African and Latin American countries, as well as leftists and Democrats (and some Republicans) have repudiated the remarks attributed to the president and called for an apology. Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez tweeted on Friday that his parents came from one of the countries supposedly insulted by President Trump. Perez's parents emigrated from the Dominican Republic. Also reacting to the alleged remarks was Janet Murguia, president of UNIDOS -- which was once known as the National Council for La Raza. Murguia tweeted "Appalled but not surprised. Presented with a bipartisan proposal, Donald Trump has angry, racist response. We have said from day one that Trump's immigration views are not about the rule of law or policy: they are pure, overt bigotry."
Appalled but not surprised. Presented w/ a bipartisan proposal, @realdonaldtrump has angry, racist response. We have said from day one that Trump's immigration views are not about the rule of law or policy, they are pure, overt bigotry.— Janet Murguía (@JMurguia_Unidos) January 12, 2018
My parents came from one of those countries. https://t.co/tfRRghQflJ— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) January 11, 2018
However, in at least one instance, an academic in Africa validated the remarks attributed to the president. According to AP, sociologist Mamady Traore (30) of Guinea said Trump is correct in his assessment. “President Donald Trump is absolutely right. Africa is a continent of s**t. When you have heads of state who mess with the constitutions to perpetuate their power. When you have rebel factions that kill children, disembowel women as saints, who mutilate innocent civilians.”
Commentator Mark Steyn analyzed Trump's "sh-thole countries" remarks, telling Fox News show host Tucker Carlson on Thurday evening, "There are immigrants all over the world who move to Norway. Nobody voluntarily moves to Haiti. Why is that? Because it's a dysfunctional society and so are many of the others from which America's present ludicrous immigration system takes newcomers from."
Author/commentator Ann Coulter tweeted on Friday: "Okay, yes -- Trump shouldn't call them 'sh-thole countries.' A little respect is in order. They are sh-thole nations."
Okay, yes -- Trump shouldn't call them "shithole countries." A little respect is in order. They are shithole nations.— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 11, 2018
Sh-ithole countries respond
Several governments and heads of state denounced Trump’s remarks. African Union chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said the remarks were “unfortunate” and added that he is “all the more dismayed as the USA is a unique example of how migration contributes to nation-building based on values of diversity, tolerance and opportunity.”
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox Quesada, who has frequently used foul language in his social media rants, tweeted "DonaldTrump, your mouth is the foulest sh-thole in the world. With what authority do you proclaim who’s welcome in America and who’s not. America’s greatness is built on diversity, or have you forgotten your immigrant background, Donald?"
Botswana’s government called Trump’s comment “reprehensible and racist” and summoned the American ambassador to explain. The government of El Salvador sent a diplomatic protest note to the United States expressing the country’s “resounding rejection” of the remark, saying that the tiny country “demands respect for its brave and dignified people.” Senegal’s president Macky Sall said he was “shocked” by Trump’s remarks, saying that “Africa and the black race merit the respect and consideration of all.” Haiti’s government declared that it is “deeply shocked and outraged” by Trump’s remark on immigration, calling it “racist.”
The Haitian government says in a statement that “these insulting and reprehensible statements in no way reflect the virtues of wisdom, restraint and discernment that must be cultivated by any high political authority.”
On Friday, Trump denied using the language attributed to him, which apparently was leaked by staff attached to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). Durbin has characterized the comments as "racist," while an apparent misunderstanding about the meaning of 'chain migration' in which he asserted that Trump's remarks were offensive to black Americans whose ancestors were brought in chains as slaves.
In response to reports about Trump's remarks, UN Secretary General António Guterres referred to his plan to promote mass migration across the world. Writing an op-ed in the leftist UK-based Guardian newspaper, Guterres wrote in an article titled, ‘Migration can benefit the world. This is how we at the UN plan to help’, that claims that migration “powers economic growth, reduces inequalities and connects diverse societies." Guterres, who was once the socialist prime minister of Portugal, has dubbed his plan "UN Global Compact for Migration."
“This will be the first overarching international agreement of its kind,” Guterres wrote, claiming that it will not “place any binding obligations on states” but will be “an unprecedented opportunity for leaders to counter the pernicious myths surrounding migrants.”
President Trump has not been convinced by the the appeals from the UN and the EU to foster more immigration. In December, Trump rejected the Global Compact, tweeting that it is "simply not compatible with U.S. sovereignty.” He summarized it as “no borders, everyone can come in!”
The sh-ithole countries
As for the countries ostensibly offended by Trump's remarks, there is evidence that his assessment if not his words are correct. Haiti has an average life expectancy of 63. Guinea: 59. Botswana: 64. Somalia: 55. Sudan: 63.
El Salvador's murder and rape rates
According to the Department of State, El Salvador is one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Beset with criminal transnational narcoterrorist organizations, the government of El Salvador struggles to keep order. The Department of State reports:
- "El Salvador has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, and the U.S. Department of State updated the Travel Warning for El Salvador in January 2016 to notify U.S. citizens about travel safety concerns, to include the increased frequency and intensity of security incidents. Crime statistics showed that the 2016 annual homicide rate — 80.94 per 100,000 inhabitants — was significantly lower than 2015’s 103.1 per 100,000 rate. In 2016, authorities recorded 5,278 homicides, a 20.7% decrease from the 6,657 in 2015. The decrease is attributed primarily to the government’s country-wide implementation of its “extraordinary” security measures in an effort to curb the gang violence.
- "Rape remains a serious concern. In 2016, there were 330 reported rape cases, up from 314 reported cases in 2015. Services for victims of rape are very limited, and many victims choose not to participate in the investigation and prosecution of the crime for fear of not being treated respectfully by the authorities. Many murder victims show signs of rape, and survivors of rape may not report the crime for fear of retaliation."