Why We are Missing the Point on Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Racist Words
These past few days have seen Americans plunge into the kind of debate that just a few years ago would have been shocking and inconceivable – Is the sitting American President, Donald Trump a racist?
That is the question most of us have been forced to grapple with after President Donald Trump reportedly called African nations, Haiti and El Salvador “shithole” countries.
Whether you believe Trump is a racist or not, whether you think the president said “shithole” or “shithouse” or craphole” is not the point we should be debating. A more disturbing and much more important question facing the country is whether President Trump is deciding the immigration policies of the United States based on the color of the immigrants’ skin.
Various U.S. Senators who attended the White House DACA immigration meeting have, not surprisingly but unfortunately. come out on different sides of the issue. Even Trump and the White House appear to be on different sides.
While defending himself against charges of racism, Trump tweeted that “the language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” referring to “shithole” accusations.
‘It is possible Trump may have used a different word than the one being attributed to him although looking back at his and his family’s history, it is hard to believe that is the case, the fact still remains that he expressed preference for White immigrants over Black and Brown immigrants.’
Georgia Senator David Purdue and Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, both Republicans, after initially saying they could not recall whether the president referred to these nations and Africa as ‘shitholes” later changed course and forcefully defended the president saying he did not say what has been attributed to him.
“We do not recall the President saying these comments specifically but what he did call out was the imbalance in our current immigration system, which does not protect American workers and our national interest,” Cotton and Purdue said in a joint statement last Friday.
By Sunday, they have changed their minds with Sen. Purdue calling it “gross misrepresentation” of the facts.
“I’m telling you he did not use that word, George. And I’m telling you it’s a gross misrepresentation. How many times do you want me to say that?” the Georgia senator told “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos Sunday morning.
So what changed? Did their memory suddenly become clearer or did they suddenly decide that they needed to protect the leader of their party and perhaps salvage the Republican Party’s reputation heading into 2018 midterm elections?
Most people interpreted these statements from Sen. Cotton and Sen. Purdue as calling Sen. Dick Durbin, the only Democrat invited to that White House meeting, a liar after the Illinois senator said Trump’s denial of the media reports was a lie.
“I cannot believe that in the history of the White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday,” Durbin told the media Friday. “You’ve seen the comments in the press. I’ve not read one of them that’s inaccurate.”
Durbin added: “He said these hateful things. Not once but repeatedly.”
My point here isn’t who said what or who is lying or telling the truth but it’s important to note that South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican who was sitting next to Trump during the meeting has repeatedly confirmed the account given by Sen. Durbin.
Sen. Graham reportedly told his fellow South Carolina Senator Tim Scott minutes after Trump’s comments were published by Washington Post that the accounts in the media were accurate. Sen. Graham has repeatedly declined to address what Trump said directly but has left little doubt about whose account he believes to be correct.
“Following comments by the president, I said my piece directly to him yesterday,” Graham said in a statement. “The president and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel,” he added. “I’ve always believed that America is an idea, not defined by its people but by its ideals.”
So whether you think Trump and these Republican senators are lying, I will leave that to your judgment but the more important issue is that for the first time in the history of the United States we have a president making immigration laws with clear preference for certain skin colors.
Besides calling some countries and the nation of Africa “shitholes” Trump added that his preference would be to have more immigrants from the nation of Norway instead of Haiti and Africa.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” “Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, adding “Take them out.”
Norway’s population is almost entirely White while the countries and continent Trump chose to deride are mostly Black and Brown.
It is possible Trump may have used a different word than the one being attributed to him although looking back at his and his family’s history, it is hard to believe that is the case, the fact still remains that he expressed preference for White immigrants over Black and Brown immigrants.
He is the President of the United States of America. Whether you like him or hate him, that should trouble you.
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