President Donald Trump on Thursday asked lawmakers why the United States allows people to immigrate “from shithole countries” like Haiti and African countries, the Washington Post reported.
The Washington Post reported, citing two unnamed sources briefed on Trump’s meeting with lawmakers, that Trump asked, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
According to the report, Trump made the remark in reference to Haiti and African countries, and then suggested the United States should allow more immigrants from countries like Norway instead. Trump met with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Wednesday.
The New York Times also reported, citing unnamed sources with direct knowledge of the discussion, that Trump made the remark about Haiti and African countries and added, “Why do we want people from Haiti here?”
It was not clear what criteria Trump was prioritizing in his description, but 95 percent of Haiti’s residents are black, while 83 percent of Norway’s residents are Norwegian by descent (only 8.5 percent of the country’s population is neither Norwegian nor European).
The White House did not deny Trump made the remark. In a statement, White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said that Trump “will always fight for the American people,” in contrast to “certain Washington politicians” he claimed “choose to fight for foreign countries.”
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins reported that members of Trump’s administration don’t think it’ll “cause a problem with the President’s base.”
“They believe the comment that he made will actually resonate with his voters like in middle America and whatnot instead of turning them off or alienating them in some kind of way, much like his attacks on those NFL players who protested by kneeling during the national anthem did,” Collins said.
Many of the NFL players who protested by taking a knee during the anthem did so to protest police brutality against black people.
This post has been updated.