Making s—gap nations nice once more | Opinion


President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Friday morning (Jan. 12) to deny that he had used especially vulgar language while talking about immigrants from certain countries.

“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” he tweeted.

Trump was responding to a Washington Post report that the president had grown frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they discussed protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump asked, according to sources not named by the Post.

Trump did not clarify what tough language he used, only that it did not use the term that one dictionary describes as “vulgar slang for an extremely dirty, shabby, or otherwise unpleasant place.”

Many of Trump’s supporters, no doubt, would argue that is a pretty accurate description some countries and that while the president was being crude, this was just Trump cutting through all the politically correct jargon to get to the heart of the matter.

And that seemed to be the essence of the first response from White House officials, who did not dispute the Post’s original account of Trump’s remarks.  

“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement issued after The Washington Post published its report. “. . . 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.”

Setting aside what is meant by some Washington politicians choosing to “fight for foreign countries,” this is very much in keeping with the Trump view that the United States is being flooded by legal and illegal immigration of untrained, unskilled menial laborers.

Trump’s reported remarks, however, would seem to equate the ability of immigrants to contribute to our society solely on the basis of their country of origin. You can certainly call that racist, but it also is wrongheaded and shortsighted. America has never made a point of denying admission to people just because they are trying to escape poverty and bad government in their homelands. One could argue that is a great strength of America and an inspiration to the world. 

Trump’s narrower view has also limited the nation’s response to aiding refugees trying to escape war and political persecution. 

Americans have generally accepted people who are willing to work hard, follow the laws and assimilate into communities. People from El Salvador, Haiti and African countries have been doing that for decades. If Trump wants to tweak immigration law to favor skilled workers from such countries, he should do that instead of denigrating human beings based on…



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