What I’ve taken away from President Donald Trump’s "shithole" remarks is that he is ignorant and oblivious. Under the Trump administration, behaviors that previously would never have been allowed are repeatedly written off because we simply don’t expect more of Trump. Everything from connections with Russian oligarchies to engaging in pissing contests with North Korean leaders has been swallowed by the public despite obvious corruption and danger.
While President Trump has denied the claims, he was recently accused of describing certain African countries as "shitholes" during a meeting regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. According to senators who were present, the president questioned the benefit of more people immigrating to the U.S. from African countries and Haiti, specifically demanding Haiti be removed from protected status, CNN reported.
The Republican response to Trump’s vulgar comments prove they are complacent and willing to allow his salacious behavior in the interest of partisanship. While some Republicans have overtly denied that Trump said anything offensive, others have attempted to address the comments. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan called the president’s comments “unfortunate” and “unhelpful,” as reported by Time Magazine. This is one more example of blatant understatement issued by Republicans in an attempt to downplay the severity of Trump's behavior.
Trump’s remarks prove not only his lack of respect for these countries, but the prejudices he harbors for them as well. The president made these comments because he doesn’t believe Haitians are desirable immigrants. Trump was also allegedly making the case that the U.S. should instead focus on white European countries like Norway. The Norwegian population is in fact overwhelmingly white. Approximately 83 percent of the country's population is white, while the countries Trump called "shitholes" are predominately black. Our President is an undeniable racist.
The diplomatic backlash the U.S. has faced in the days since Trump’s remarks proves that even if we are willing to put up with his behaviors, other countries are not. We cannot expect countries that are being blatantly disrespected to continue to have diplomatic relations with the U.S. The Haitian government issued a statement stating that Trump’s remarks reflected racist views that are woefully inaccurate, according to ABC News.
Other countries have also spoken out. Botswana condemned the remarks, stating they let U.S. citizens into their country, as reported by Politico. They urged other countries in the Southern African Developmental Community to rebuke Trump and his vulgar comments. Even if we as a country continue to overlook the dangerous bigotry of our president, it is becoming clear that other countries will not.
Trump is simply wrong about the countries he condemned as "shitholes." The U.S. has had mutually beneficial relationships with several of these countries for many years. These comments ignore the ways in which Haiti and the U.S. have benefited one another. The Haitian people fought alongside the U.S. during multiple wars, and in turn, the U.S. stood by them during devastating earthquakes and political coups. Not to mention that these countries also contain some of the most beautiful places, with the richest cultures and most lively people.
I can no longer stomach this behavior. Only Trump could take a bipartisan meeting with congressmen and use it to degrade entire African nations and commend white European countries in comparison. This behavior is abhorrent for anyone, and it is especially outrageous given that this person is our leader. We need to expect more of our president.