Politics |Emerging

Trump denies ‘shithole countries’ comment as global anger grows

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"Thanks for taking these concerns seri..."
Peter Bale

Peter Bale

"Agreed. We will be addressing the MLK..."


"The reporting on this story is an ex..."

Nino Dvoršak

"10/10 Great coverage, this story is ..."

This is an emerging story which needs expansion if you wish to EDIT to add information or discuss it in TALK.

President Donald J. Trump drew the ire of people all over the world for reportedly asking why the United States should have to take immigrants from “shithole countries” such as Haiti and nations in Africa.

Trump has since denied that he used the slur in a tweet on Friday. “The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” he wrote. The White House later let it be known through anonymous channels that he may have said “shithouse”.

In another tweet Trump said he “never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country,” and proposed to record future Oval Office meetings.

The White House did not initially deny that the president made the comments, Politico reported on Thursday however, and multiple media reports have prompted a global outcry.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin told reporters on Friday that he “personally heard” Trump use “hate-filled, vile and racist” language including “shithole.” Durbin, who was present at the White House meeting on immigration on Thursday, also said that he had “not read” one comment in the press about the remarks that was inaccurate according to a video from MSNBC.

‘Your mouth is the foulest shithole in the world’

The United Nations human rights office lambasted the comment as “racist” (The Guardian). Rupert Colville, UN human rights spokesman, told reporters in Switzerland: “You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome.”

The African Union was “frankly alarmed” by Trump’s language, it said, and the Haitian president Laurent Lamothe said Trump’s remark showed “a lack of respect and ignorance,” according to The Guardian.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox tweeted “@realDonaldTrump, your mouth is the foulest shithole 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?”

Back in the U.S., Utah Republican Mia Love, whose family is from Haiti, demanded an apology and wrote in a statement: “The President’ comments are unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values.”

James Comey, the former FBI director who was fired by Trump, tweeted about the president’s comment indirectly by quoting the inscription on the Statue of Liberty.

‘We should have more people from Norway’

The Washington Post first reported the comments, which were allegedly made in the White House, as Democratic Senator Dick Durbin and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham spoke to the president about a new immigration bill created by a group of bipartisan senators.

Reuters reported that a source briefed on the conversation said that Trump said: “Why do we want all these people from Africa here? They’re shithole countries … We should have more people from Norway.” [Trump had earlier met the Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Fox News).

As a slight digression, it’s notable given the “shithole” remark that Norway ranks top in the global rankings of life satisfaction at 10 and the United States at 7.8 – about the middle in the index – of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Better Life Index.

tops the OECD's Life Satisfaction scale at 10 with the US --the grey line -- about in the middle of the OECD nations, at 7.8.
Norway – the orange line –
tops the OECD’s Life Satisfaction scale at 10 with the US –the grey line — about in the middle of the OECD nations, at 7.8.

He says it, we print it

The Washingtonian writes about news outlets using profanity in their copy.

“When the president says it, we’ll use it verbatim,” it quotes Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron as saying. “That’s our policy. We discussed it, quickly, but there was no debate.”

The president also pointed to Haiti, saying that immigrants from there should be left out of any deal.

“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.” (Washington Post)

Fox News reported that about a dozen people were in the room at the time.


The Trump administration last year announced it would end the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) immigration designation for Haiti, that was made after a devastating earthquake in 2010. (CNN) It allowed tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants, who were made homeless, to work and live in the United States.

In a written statement, also carried by the New York Times, White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah did not deny the account of the meeting.

“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people. Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center annotated the statement here.

Fox News’ Jesse Watters defended Trump’s language saying it was “how the forgotten men and women of America talk at the bar.”

The New York Times also reported in December that Trump said Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS,” during a summer 2017 meeting about immigration.

CNN’s Jim Acosta said that reporters could “tip toe” around it but the president seemed “to harbor racist views about people of color from other countries.”

This is an emerging story which needs expansion if you wish to EDIT to add information or discuss it in TALK.

Started by

New Zealand
Charles Anderson is a New Zealand-based editor with WikiTribune. His work has appeared in the International New York Times, the Guardian, the Sydney Morning Herald and National Geographic Traveller.

History for stories "Trump denies ‘shithole countries’ comment as global anger grows"

Select two items to compare revisions

18 January 2018

13:06:10, 18 Jan 2018 . .‎ Peter Bale (Updated → Amplification: shithole to shithouse)

12 January 2018

16:42:00, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Ed Upright (Updated → removed repetition)
16:39:40, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Ed Upright (Updated → additions)
16:31:53, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Lydia Morrish (Updated → Adding Dick Durbin)
15:19:57, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Ed Upright (Updated → editing)
15:17:06, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Ed Upright (Updated → addition)
15:07:35, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Lydia Morrish (Updated → Update with second tweet)
14:43:43, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Ed Upright (Updated → tweak)
14:34:46, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Ed Upright (Updated → update)
14:08:53, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Lydia Morrish (Updated → Tweak)
14:06:07, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Lydia Morrish (Updated → Update with Trump's denial)
10:00:59, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Lydia Morrish (Updated → adding "J." to Trump's name)
10:00:19, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Lydia Morrish (Updated → correcting comma position)
09:25:52, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Peter Bale (Updated → Adding OECD life satisfaction index)
05:30:10, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Charles Anderson (Updated → intro update)
05:14:05, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Charles Anderson (Updated → update tweet)
04:10:53, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Jason Lehman (Updated → )
03:44:51, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Charles Anderson (Updated → added further call to action)
03:44:19, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Charles Anderson (Updated → adding southern poverty law center annotation)
03:42:24, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Charles Anderson (Updated → updated with acosta comments)
03:36:51, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Charles Anderson (Updated → added jesse watters)
03:33:21, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Charles Anderson (Updated → add newsoutlets using profanity)
03:26:49, 12 Jan 2018 . .‎ Charles Anderson (Updated → published)

Talk for Story "Trump denies ‘shithole countries’ comment as global anger grows"

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  1. Other

    The reporting on this story is an example of whats wrong with the news media and what I’d hope Wikitribune would avoid. Here’s what I mean–A senator at the meeting accused Trump of inappropriate language, which Trump and others at the meeting later denied. There’s no transcript. There’s no audio.

    So what kind of journalistic integrity is behind phrases like, “a source briefed on the conversation”? They weren’t present at the meeting, so not a witness, and with no statement of who they are, their position, and who briefed them. Its the same kind of nonsense sourcing that lets Time magazine run an article falsely claiming Trump removing a bust of MLK because the reporter didn’t recall seeing it, though did nothing beyond texting a friend to confirm the report.

    This isn’t about defending/attacking Trump. Its about standards of journalism that should transcend the current political moment.

    1. Rewrite

      Agreed. We will be addressing the MLK bust thing in an item later today on Donald Trump and the media. It’s also notable of course that the White House is quite capable of using confidential briefings to communicate its own version of what might or might not have been said. On a more serious level if there isn’t a transcript or recording available it is necessary to try to track down the best version of what was said and in this case it looks like many people decided to deliberately try to obfuscate but there was no doubt of the tone – be the actual words, shithole or shithouse. Here’s how we updated the other piece and see if it makes it clearer while hopefully also understanding how abnormal a conversation like this is: https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/01/16/united_states/you-say-shithole-he-apparently-said-shithouse-shall-we-call-the-whole-thing-off/39501/

      1. Rewrite

        Thanks for taking these concerns seriously, Peter.

        I’m guessing this is the MLK bust article:

        A great example of reporting without editorializing. I hope to see more like this from WikiTribune and that it will restore trust and civility in the discourse surrounding current events.

  2. Rewrite

    Great coverage, this story is very important for Trump’s future

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