Most of Maine’s congressional delegation has condemned President Trump’s reported description of Haiti, El Salvador and several African nations as “shithole” countries.
The Washington Post reported the president grew frustrated Thursday during an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers about a bipartisan immigration deal. The explosive remarks came during a conversation about the visa lottery program, which benefits some African countries, and about the temporary protected status given to immigrants from certain nations, including El Salvador and Haiti.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump had said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.
Trump disputed the reports in a tweet Friday morning, although he did not directly deny using the word. But Sen. Richard J. Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois who attended the meeting, said publicly Friday that Trump’s apparent denial was false and that he repeatedly used the phrase.
Maine’s delegation responded quickly to the news.
In a tweet Friday morning, Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins called the president’s language “highly inappropriate.”
“These comments are highly inappropriate & out of bounds and could hurt efforts for a bipartisan immigration agreement,” she wrote. “The President should not denigrate other countries.”
U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, spoke out about the news Thursday.
“Truly regrettable and inconsistent with my understanding of what American is all about,” he said.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree described the president’s comments as “racist” in her own statement Friday.
“President Trump’s racist comments about immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and countries in Africa are absolutely sickening, even for him,” her statement reads. “It’s frightening to have someone in the White House with this kind of ignorance and lack of compassion. He knows absolutely nothing about these people – the pain they’ve faced, their harrowing journeys, or their commitment to our country, much less the cultural vibrancy of the countries they came from. His words are slanderous to our legacy as a nation of immigrants.”
Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin also criticized the president’s words, but in more mild terms. He did not directly condemn the language.
“I am focused on policy. When it comes to immigration reform and securing our borders, we have urgent and serious needs to address and many critical policies to debate. The reported comments are not helpful.”
This story will be updated.
Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:
Source: Portland pressMaine’s congressional delegation denounces Trump’s reported vulgar remarks