Trump's 'shithole' comment is his new rock bottom

On Thursday, in a meeting with a senators and House members on immigration,...

Posted: Jan 12, 2018 8:30 AM
Updated: Jan 12, 2018 8:30 AM

On Thursday, in a meeting with a senators and House members on immigration, the President of the United States, asked this: "Why do we want all these people from 'shithole countries' coming here?"

Yes, he said "shithole countries" -- apparently in reference to the fact that immigrants from places like El Salvador, Haiti and Africa were being protected in a potential bipartisan deal to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and secure funding for border security.

What's even more appalling is that the White House didn't even try to deny that Trump used that slur, which was first reported in The Washington Post. In fact, in a lengthy statement from White House spokesman Raj Shah, the administration seemed to even defend the sentiment. "Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people," said Shah.

But it gets even worse. Asked about the "shithole" comments, a White House official told CNN's Kaitlan Collins this:

"The President's 'shithole' remark is being received much differently inside of the White House than it is outside of it. Though this might enrage Washington, staffers predict the comment will resonate with his base, much like his attacks on NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem did not alienate it."

Stop. Read that again. Here's what it means: The President's voicing of a racist remark about the sorts of people whom we are letting into the country is actually a good thing because people who like Trump will agree with him.

Make no mistake: This is the lowest ebb of a presidency defined by a series of low ebbs and defining of the presidency downward. Yes, lower than Trump's comments about Mexico sending us "rapists" and "criminals." Lower than questioning Sen. John McCain's military service. Lower than his impugning of a judge because of his Mexican heritage. Lower than his questioning the motives of a Gold Star family. Lower than the 2,000 mistruths and outright falsehoods he has said since becoming President. Lower than his racially-tinged attacks on the anthem protests by NFL players. Lower even than his "both sides" argument in the wake of white supremacist violence against peaceful protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

This is not only a President of the United States voicing racist sentiment in front of a group of people. It is also doubling down on those sentiments -- proudly! -- because it might advance his political power among his base.

This is -- much like Charlottesville -- an abdication of the moral authority of the presidency, but it's more than that: It's saying, quite simply, that saying racist stuff is a-OK as long as it works politically.

There are things that are -- or should be -- beyond politics. The most important of those things is the belief that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

It's right there in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. And, "we believe these truths to be self evident" because, well, they are. The progress to a more perfect union hasn't always honored this pledge as it should. But this is 2018. Can't we agree that discriminating against people based on what they look like -- or what country they might come from -- is wrong?

Apparently not, according to President Trump.

Let's not make any mistake here: What was being discussed in the meeting in which Trump called Haiti and El Salvador "shithole countries" was not illegal immigration. This was a proposal to end the visa lottery, which Trump has repeatedly falsely suggested leads to other countries gaming the system to send the US their worst people, and replace it with affording a group of countries Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

Nor should we dismiss this sentiment as a one off by Trump. Remember this June 2016 meeting, first reported by The New York Times, in which Trump was angrily decrying the fact that lots of immigrants from what he believed were less-desirable countries were still entering the country. The Times writes:

"Haiti had sent 15,000 people. They 'all have AIDS,' [Trump] grumbled, according to one person who attended the meeting and another person who was briefed about it by a different person who was there.

Forty thousand had come from Nigeria, Mr. Trump added. Once they had seen the United States, they would never 'go back to their huts' in Africa, recalled the two officials, who asked for anonymity to discuss a sensitive conversation in the Oval Office."

These sorts of noxious views are a feature not a glitch for Donald Trump. Everything in his history as a candidate and as President screams for that conclusion. For every "bill of love" pronouncement Trump makes, there are double-digit times in which he has said things -- publicly and privately -- that any reasonable person would describe as racially tinged at best and flat-out racist at worst.

Let me remind you in case you have forgotten: This is the President of the United States we are talking about. The President of ALL 300 million people -- not just the ones who voted for Trump and who might respond well to his "shithole" comments. The President of a country literally built on the idea of a melting pot of immigrants.

The discussion of whether this will resonate with Trump's base then is deeply cynical and totally misses the point. There need to be things that are right and things that are wrong, things that we can all agree we should do or not do. Whether or not these things have some political resonance with some group of people is immaterial.

We are talking about the President of the United States here! Not some fringe talk radio host? Not some blogger. The single most powerful person in the country. The symbol of the United States to the rest of the world.

Whether or not you voted for Trump, whether or not you still support him, whether or not you think this "shithole" comment will land well with his base, you need to acknowledge that voicing views like these is simply wrong. It is, quite literally, anti-American. Period. Full Stop.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515208

Reported Deaths: 10290
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34981557
DeSoto33342432
Hinds32718643
Jackson24896391
Rankin22553404
Lee16439245
Madison14949283
Jones14155248
Forrest13829260
Lauderdale12305324
Lowndes11348193
Lamar10687140
Pearl River9739244
Lafayette8867143
Hancock7847132
Washington7555169
Oktibbeha7228138
Monroe7055179
Pontotoc7026110
Warren6883178
Panola6783135
Neshoba6740210
Marshall6705142
Bolivar6468151
Union642898
Pike5941157
Alcorn5912107
Lincoln5539136
George510680
Prentiss507785
Tippah495483
Itawamba4877107
Scott478799
Adams4775125
Tate4774117
Leflore4747144
Copiah458095
Yazoo457892
Simpson4565117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4318106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4243109
Leake414090
Newton396082
Tishomingo386194
Grenada3786109
Stone365966
Jasper341266
Attala339590
Winston317992
Chickasaw317667
Clay312778
Clarke301695
Calhoun286349
Holmes272589
Smith269952
Yalobusha244647
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220241
Perry214456
Amite210257
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175241
Jefferson Davis174043
Tunica163539
Benton153239
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134639
Humphreys132239
Franklin126430
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 847064

Reported Deaths: 16157
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1163702006
Mobile743001381
Madison53394737
Shelby38395371
Baldwin38140589
Tuscaloosa36096642
Montgomery34535782
Lee25639264
Calhoun22620519
Morgan22503408
Etowah20043520
Marshall18812317
Houston17754425
St. Clair16928358
Limestone16178220
Cullman16113304
Elmore15927295
Lauderdale15042307
Talladega14234301
DeKalb13033270
Walker12119380
Blount10756193
Autauga10531157
Jackson10191195
Coffee9431192
Colbert9356210
Dale9035192
Tallapoosa7283202
Russell709665
Chilton7077170
Escambia6961144
Covington6956195
Franklin6355108
Chambers5791142
Marion5428130
Dallas5299210
Pike5124109
Clarke485586
Lawrence4841130
Winston4784110
Geneva4649136
Bibb435294
Barbour370080
Butler3445101
Marengo342793
Monroe338066
Randolph337367
Pickens334689
Fayette331385
Henry320866
Cherokee319563
Hale318589
Crenshaw261577
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253355
Clay251669
Macon245465
Conecuh193262
Coosa185647
Lowndes178268
Wilcox178138
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139741
Greene130245
Choctaw93328
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